Instagram, please stop censoring pole dance
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For hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, pole dance is a mainstream fitness activity. Pole athletes, dancers, performers, instructors, entrepreneurs and amateur enthusiasts use Instagram daily to connect, share expertise, train and inspire. We have uploaded millions of videos and pictures. We carefully hashtag our tricks, training and dance flows to learn and progress, and cheer each other on as a passionate, supportive and diverse community.
Recently Instagram has blocked almost all pole-related hashtags - without explanation other than citing ‘content that may not meet Instagram’s community guidelines.’
This means we cannot connect. We cannot learn. We cannot support each other.
What we do does not violate Instagram’s community guidelines. It is not profane, pornographic, injurious or hateful. What we do requires skill, strength and discipline. It is a dance art; it is fitness training; it can be sexy and entertaining - but it does not violate Instagram’s terms of service. To perform aerial acrobatics on a pole requires skin grip - but we are not nude. We dance, compete, run small businesses, perform legally and legitimately. We respect each other.
We ask that you respect us, your users. Review your algorithm and settings, and let us continue to share our art, our dance, our successes, our failures; let us continue to celebrate the human body in beautiful flight.
Empowered, without shame, with love.
As a community of thousands, we love Instagram. As a pole family with supporters in the millions, we appreciate Instagram as one of our foremost social media platforms.
We are saddened that Instagram no longer seems to love us back.
To our family of followers and fans, to our community of pole and aerial dancers, teachers, trainers and athletes, please sign our petition. Share it with your friends and ask them to sign it too. Help us make Instagram hear our voice.
The Pole Dancers of Instagram, including.....
United Pole Artists 183k followers, info/marketing/consulting for pole industry @upartists
Pole Dance Nation 238k followers, author ‘Pole Dancer’ by Nikki St John, publicist @poledancenation
Michelle Shimmy, 187k followers, international pole artist, instructor and businesswoman @michelleshimmy
Elizabeth Blanchard, 75k followers, international instructor, aerialist and kinesiologist @Elizabeth_BFit
Anna-Maija Nyman, 90k followers, athlete, Nordic & 5x Swedish National Pole Champion @annamaijanyman
Dan Rosen, 56k followers, competition athlete, instructor, UK Male Pole Champion @danrosenpole
Laura Arbios, owner Sadie’s Pole Studio, Founder Pole Dancers Vote @sadiespolestudio
Meg Lee, 24k followers, competition athlete, instructor, studio owner @megthesupernova
Makeda Smith, 3.4k followers, publicist, instructor, Pole priestess @flyingover50
Carolina Hades @bloggeronpole, social media PhD researcher, writer, activist & blogger with 5k followers
Rachel Osborne 11k followers. Housewife. Mum. Pole dancer @TropicalVertical
NOTES: From Carolina’s essay ‘What Instagram’s Pole Dance Shadowban Means For Social Media’ published at www.bloggeronpole.com
‘We need more clarity about how social media algorithms work, about what gets engagement and what is banned why. It’s puzzling that algorithm changes are so frequent, so hard to keep track of and still go unexplained by Instagram. This wouldn’t be feasible with any other business model: imagine using a service and not being told how it works and how to use it to make the most out of it. You wouldn’t buy it. Instagram is thriving off of people’s need for exposure and attention and isn’t clarifying much."
"The 'Community Guidelines' approach in social media regulation has clearly failed. In my PhD, I talk about how human rights law and a balancing act between censorship and freedom of expression are needed to judge whether a post has to be taken off. Does it infringe or threaten anybody’s human rights or pose a threat to someone’s security? If not, I’d say keep it on – and if anything, add a NSFW/ 18+ content filter."
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