Instagram Is A Censorship Nightmare For Progressive Content And Here Is What We Can Do To Help
A creatively restricted billboard that is silencing artists by their vague community guidelines.
Sexual content seems to be Instagram's worst nightmare, even when the content isn't sexual, if Instagram deems so, it is. This especially puts artists that function under the umbrella of artsy explicit content that isn't intended to be sexual under a lot of restraint.
Among them are sex-workers, photographers, artists, breastfeeding moms and feminists who claim that they've had their Instagram accounts get constantly deactivated or shadow-banned.
Instagram explains this as wanting to appeal to the broadest audience and refers to Facebook's policy on sexual solicitation which equally applies to Instagram. "We draw the line... when content facilitates, encourages or coordinates sexual encounters between adults," these guidelines state. Sexually explicit language is also banned.
The fear is real, having to be on a platform where you cultivate an audience and following only for Instagram to dangle its existence on puny matters such as the shadow of a woman's form is beyond us.
Artists before they get blocked, usually get shadowbanned, which to us sounds like a very annoying thing to have done to your account. Shadowbanning is intended to filter out spammy posts or accounts run by bots. If your account is shadowbanned, your posts will not show or come up under any hashtags or the explore feed for days, weeks and even months. The LGBTQ+ community also feel very marginalized on this behemoth of a platform.
Hashtags that can get shadow-blocked include- #bi, #iamgay, #gays, #lesbiansofinstagram. Orientation shouldn't be problematic and in all honesty, we do not understand why Instagram even meddles in matters as such. The question is, what exactly is this social media platform trying to censor? When such platforms restrict freedom of speech, it becomes something to worry about.
Social Media platforms have been at the forefront of political movements such as #MeToo and #Blacklivesmatter. It is scary to realize that Instagram, single-handedly has the power to put a stop/censor on future campaigns for the LGBTQ+ community by banning content that is informative and progressive. To put so much responsibility and trust on a platform that is just a huge capitalistic money-making machine is feeling shady. So, what should we do?
The answer is simple, move to other platforms that exercise free expression. While we as a generation are thriving on being more inclusive, we should also allow our progress to spill into our online lives.
One example of an inclusive, LGBTQ+ and sex-worker friendly platform is ELLO. If you're a little nostalgic of the good ol' days of Instagram, you will love this app. Remember when there were no ads or vague community guidelines? This is what Ello brings to the table.
Ello promotes unfiltered creativity, rewards artist's for their work and gives you access to filter your notifications. This social media platform also leaves the stupid algorithm behind, the feed is in chronological order (thank you) and has no ads, sponsored posts or business profiles. YES, it's real and, it exists.
Also, it doesn't ban nudity and is LGBTQ+ friendly.
There's also Patreon which is also free of censorship and acts as a membership platform that makes it easier for artists and creators to get paid. Patreon is popular among YouTube videographers, webcomic artists, writers, podcasters, musicians, and other categories of creators who post regularly online. It allows artists to receive funding directly from their fans, or patrons, on a recurring basis or per work of art.
Engines like Instagram are developed on drug-like workings. The addiction is real and we need a detox. Don't you agree?