The big picture: The online image hosting and sharing service has announced sweeping changes to its terms of service that'll have a far-reaching impact for years to come. Imgur claims the move will help ensure it remains a safe and fun space on the Internet, but it looks more like a setup for its own Photobucket moment.

Imgur is taking spring cleaning to a whole nother level. From May 15, Imgur will start removing what it calls old, unused and inactive content not tied to a user account. Furthermore, material classified as "nudity, pornography and sexually explicit content" will also be scrubbed from the service. Imgur notes that users wishing to preserve any images that no longer adhere to the new terms will need to download them before sanitation begins.

Imgur will use a mix of automated detection and human review to identify and remove offending content, but said artistic nudes will still be allowed.

Imgur's announcement is twofold, really. Banning adult content is no doubt going to tick some people off, especially those in NSFW communities on Reddit that rely on the service to host the material they share. Imgur could lose millions of users based on this decision alone, much like we saw with Tumblr a few years back.

Arguably, the bigger concern is Imgur's decision to delete older material not linked to a user account. For years, the service has allowed users to host images without requiring them to be linked to an account. By wiping older content, Imgur is positioning itself for its own Photobucket moment.

Photobucket operated a free image hosting service for several years that was used by millions of people to share media on forums and blogs, both of which were popular before social media took over. When the service switched to a subscription model in 2017, swaths of hosted images disappeared, resulting in countless web posts that were more or less useless without images.

The same is likely to happen again – albeit with more of an impact on social media – when Imgur starts purging legacy content next month.