I made this drawing for a post addressing my Instagram followers on the topic of the new Insta TOS that came into effect on December 20, 2020.
Can you imagine a huge platform, built on the backs and creative labor of models, including sex workers and adult performers, suddenly rejecting anything remotely sexual and virtually eliminating nudity?
Yeah, *cough* Tumblr’s doing real well. Instagram’s new TOS may make the platform unhospitable to all professional naked or semi-naked people and professional companions. Want to know more about this latest impact on sex-positive folx’ income, during a pandemic?
A great place to start is with Carolina Are, known as Blogger on Pole.
Here is her petition to Instagram, quoted below. I signed! And a post explaining the new terms as she was able to understand them. As always, the TOS seem oblique. You may see celebrity nudity while the algorithm seems to selectively censor other bodies.
Here is Carolina Are’s template of a letter to Instagram that you can modify as you like.
The Adult Performers’ Artist Guild and its President Alana Evans are doing tremendous support work for models who have been deleted or banned, as always.
I don’t dare link to the Guild here, but I strongly recommend learning about their work if you care about free speech and consensual sex work.
On the BBC, Thomas Fabbri asks, Why is Instagram deleting the accounts of hundreds of porn stars?
It’s very important to look at this new TOS in the light of Insta’s recent public engagement with Black, plus-size model Nyome Nicholas-Williams, known as Curvy Nyome.
Images of Ms. Nicholas-Williams were repeatedly deleted by Instagram this summer, and she responded to the deletions, with the support of photographer Alexandra Cameron and activist Gina Martin.
Lizzie Ryder’s petition in support of Nyome Nicholas-Williams on change.org is still up!
The #iwanttoseenyome campaign helped raise awareness about platform deletions of the bodies and skin of fat and especially fat BIPOC people.
Instagram and Facebook responded by saying they would revise policy to “ensure” all bodies are treated fairly. Meanwhile, images of fat BIPOC folx continue to be taken down. Ms. Nicholas-Williams has labored exhaustively over the last six months to connect with people who have been censored, and to support fat Black people who have had images deleted.
Ms. Nicholas-Williams writes in a new post for Harpers’ Bazaar that it is essential for white followers to understand that we have to do the work of change and get in the fight. The British writer Paula Akpan has an excellent piece on Bustle addressing the way shadowbans and other forms of erasure and deplatforming affect different communities.
The group EveryBODYVisible also has done tremendous work confronting platform censorship in the past year. While the volunteer-run group is on “pandemic pause”, it is worth checking out the feed, as their posts include discussion of skin detection, banned tags and helpful guidelines, still relevant!
Censorship will always harm the most marginalized first and most. Writer Salma El-Wardany explains the impact of algorithmic bias in this piece about censorship of women of colour:
The minute we apply the intersections of race, disability and sexuality, censorship seems to increase and it gets harder and harder to exist on Instagram.
Censorship of fat nudity and racist censorship of nudity are central to the puritan ethos.
The more bodies are censored, the more sexuality is policed, the more racism, transphobia, SWERFism, queerphobia and fatphobia can be interwoven into “content guidelines”. Platforms will continue to penalize, erase and drive off the vibrant sexual creatives who built their audiences.
What can you do, today, to help? Send money to a sex worker, always comment and save posts of BIPOC models, send a letter to Instagram, sign petitions, and send money to sex workers. Thanks to Lolita VaVoom for inspiring the post and this straightforward social justice response to the new Instagram TOS.
Your discussion of platform censorship will be intersectional or it will be bullshit!