Petition to Instagram, Facebook
Tell Instagram to reconsider the recent changes to community guidelines
Changes to the Instagram community guidelines are coming into action on the 20th of December. Creators have been dealing with censorship for years. Most pages have adapted to the previous restrictions, even though they’re often penalised by having their content demoted or unfairly removed. The new guidelines focus on rules regarding “objectionable content.” Violations now include “attempted coordination of or recruitment for adult sexual services” and “explicit sexual solicitation.” Posts that “implicitly or indirectly” offer or ask for sexual solicitation are also now violations, if they include both solicitation and “suggestive elements” – the latter including not only nudity, but “regional sexualised slang” and “contextually specific or commonly sexual emojis,” as well as erotic art. (Source: Novaramedia.com)While we understand that explicit images don’t belong on Instagram, the guidelines keep getting stricter. The new community guidelines are coming into effect on the 20th of December and whole communities on Instagram are concerned this might completely silence their voices online. Accounts that complied with the previous guidelines are now left confused and in fear. These changes are worrying and unfair. We’re asking Instagram to reconsider the approach. We demand:- A review of the new community guidelines coming into effect this month, with a less restrictive and fairer approach.- The introduction of a consulting body of LGBT+ creators and sex workers, collaborating with Instagram to ensure that marginalised voices e are heard while keeping the whole Instagram community safe. Users should be able to celebrate their bodies and talk freely about sex, while refraining from overtly explicit content.- Better user support and a direct communication channel to assist users with disabled accounts. Instagram currently offers no support, even when this is done by mistake.- New app resources like age filters and content warnings. Instagram already uses a filter for “sensitive content”. A similar filter could also be applied to sexually suggestive images, as an alternative to the removal of the content or the account. Increased censorship will hurt marginalised groups disproportionately The strengthening of the rules compounds the unfair censorship that marginalised groups have faced for years on the platform. Censorship threatens artistic expression and suppresses communication between adults. It also silences an entire community of creatives and damages their professional career.The changes are also a direct attack on sex worker's rights and livelihood. Covid restrictions have forced sex workers to innovate online and rely on platforms like Instagram to increase their online presence. Banning them is hurtful because it directly endangers their financial and emotional wellbeing/ability to survive, especially when so many are unable to work and rely on their virtual incomeCensorship policies are particularly damaging for LGBTQ+ people and womxn*. These rules often police bodies through a binary lens and repress non-normative sexualities. The distinction between “female” and “male” nipples is also misogynistic. Celebrities are not treated by the same standards, and often get away with much more explicit content. The rules are enforced more rigidly on smaller content creators that celebrate a diverse range of bodies. This means restrictions often reinforce damaging beauty standards, which promote body dysmorphia and other mental health issues. The constant censorship and imminent threat of intervention body positivity creators face also has a huge impact on their mental health. Discussions about sex are a crucial element of education. The new rules prohibit educators from sharing valuable information whilst denying the general public from the opportunity to engage in informative discussions. We’re a group of LGBT+ creators and sex workers We’re fighting to protect marginalised voices and bodies from being silenced further. For more information, visit www.silencedbodies.com.We are an independent organisation that aims to raise awareness about online censorship issues while celebrating body-positive, sexual freedom. We have an intersectional approach: the fight for social justice must consider different modes of discrimination and privilege.