ARTISTS AGAINST SOCIAL MEDIA CENSORSHIP
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Kevin Systrom, Mike Krieger, Joel Kaplan, Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook:
We are artists, curators, muses, writers and other creatives who use social media platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook, to connect with others, share work and promote our creative endeavors. Our belief is that artistic practice examines the world around us, confronting society without commercial motivation. We constantly reevaluate our cultural framework, providing a fundamental perspective on existing value systems. Sharing work in a traditional gallery setting has become increasingly difficult, and simultaneously we are being pushed out of our cities due to rising costs of living. Consequently, we have turned to virtual platforms for open and unbiased feedback.
You state in the Instagram Community Guidelines, “We want Instagram to continue to be an authentic and safe place for inspiration and expression. Instagram is a reflection of our diverse community of cultures, ages, and beliefs. We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the different points of view that create a safe and open environment for everyone.” You state in the Facebook Community Standards, “Our mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. Every day, people come to Facebook to share their stories, see the world through the eyes of others and connect with friends and causes. The conversations that happen on Facebook reflect the diversity of a community of more than one billion people.”
Many of us are finding our images and accounts censored without explanation while following the Community Guidelines/Standards currently in place. We believe there is a pattern of unjustifiable censorship that includes inconsistencies, double standards, as well as lack of transparency and accountability. It feels confusing and unfair when content is allowed that clearly violates policies while other content seems to clearly have artistic value, yet is repeatedly removed. We believe in a clear distinction between what is obscene and what has artistic and social value.
Art only has a future if people are wholeheartedly engaging with it. Allowing unnecessary censorship contributes to the mediocrity of experience, instead of encouraging the originality of ideas and the unique exploration of self identity.
As users, we request that you to reevaluate your Community Guidelines/Standards in order to stop the unfair censorship of artists' work:
- The appeal process should include individual posts, images and videos that have been removed. Provide users with a written explanation and cite which post and guideline has been violated.
- Many artists have had content removed without evidence of violation, yet celebrity nudity, objectification of women, rape, drug use, racism, gun violence and hateful content has been allowed to remain. Provide resources and staff to review content as well as additional training.
- Create a distinction between pornographic images and fine art photography that contains nudity. For instance, fine art nude photographs are not obscene, and are have had social value throughout history. They may reference other classical works and depict the human form in a way that is interesting and beautiful.
- Provide a point of contact for users to communicate with and ask questions or express concerns regarding censorship.
- Cease in labeling women's nipples or pubic hair as "dangerous" or "obscene". This and adds to the violence against and degradation of women.
- Introduce an optional feature to limit or eliminate accessibility to nude content.
We understand that social media platforms are complex and must operate on many different social and cultural levels. Based on the above argument, we would like to work together to find a reasonable solution to eliminate unfair and unnecessary censorship from your platforms.
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