The sextoy manufacturer We-Vibe, part of the German WOW group, was censored on Instagram. The brand’s account was closed after the social media company considered a We-Vibe post a violation of the guidelines. Now We-Vibe is defending itself with a noticeable campaign against the increasing censorship attempts on social media.
We-Vibe is one of the most visible design-based sextoy brands in the industry. Like its sister brand Womanizer, the label belongs to the German-American company WOW-Tech.
The increasing censorship efforts are particularly noticeable on social media platforms. After Tumblr, one of the last mainstream portals to ban XXX content last year, and after many social media services have been using shadowbans for a long time, Instagram now also appears to be taking action against non-explicit content.
Social media banning pleasure and eroticism
For many performers, artists, studios, dealers and manufacturers, Instagram’s increasingly arbitrary censorship policy is becoming a serious problem. Many have invested a lot of money on their social media channels for years. And especially Instagram lives to a large extent from eroticism and the popularity of influencers showing themselves quite openly.
It is therefore understandable that We-Vibe reacts angrily and anxiously to the closure of the company’s own Instagram account. According to the manufacturer, the situation is further aggravated by the fact that there was no warning and no specific justification from Instagram before the deletion of its account.
We-Vibe fighting for its account
With an open letter and the call for a campaign under the Hashtag #UnmutePleasure We-Vibe now defends itself and goes on the offensive.
Denny Alexander is head of public relations at We-Vibe. Commenting on the incident and the counter-campaign of his company, he says: »This is bigger than We-Vibe. Instagram’s censorship and shutting of sex-positive accounts is affecting our whole community. We started this campaign to bring attention to the issue and to act as a rallying point for the industry. We’re asking retailers, educators, bloggers, and other brands to stand with us and tell Instagram that it’s time to #UnmutePleasure.«
Here is the open letter by We-Vibe:
We both make products and services that bring people together, so we’re ready to believe that this is value that both our brands happily share. We-Vibe® also believes that pleasure and intimacy should be celebrated as an essential part of our human experience and integral to our wellbeing. Unfortunately, this is one of the few values that we do not have in common, and we’re here to tell you why that’s not cool.
We-Vibe is and has always been a brand that promotes pleasure-positivity. We have been proponents of pleasure-positivity for over 10 years and in over 50 countries by providing products designed, tested and recommended by experts for couples and individuals that help bring them closer, inside and outside of the bedroom. We have evolved over the years, have grown and learned from our fans and friends in the community, and are proud to be an industry leader. Now, we’re uniting with the rest of our community to stand-up against Instagram’s censorship of pleasure-positivity.
In your Community Guidelines, you state that you »want to foster a positive, diverse community.« We want that too – and that’s what we work hard to promote every day when we log on to your platform. The pleasure-positive community is full of people from around the globe that celebrate their bodies, embrace diversity and inclusion, spread knowledge and awareness, and value love of self and of others. These people and brands make the Internet – which can sometimes be dark and isolating – the open and inclusive place it was meant to be. That is, until powerful platforms like Instagram make subjective censorship calls and decide that *we’re* the problem.
You also state that »Each of us is an important part of the Instagram community.« That’s why we’re fighting against your censorship and discrimination against the health and pleasure of women, couples, queer and femme-identifying folks, discrimination which is based in outdated and sexist views that we strive to end each and every day. We-Vibe has been working hard to bridge the orgasm gap, and that is what we will continue to do with pride.
Finally, you say you »want Instagram to continue to be an authentic and safe place for inspiration and expression.« We certainly agree that it’s important to have guidelines that keep everyone safe from hate and abuse. But we believe that (your) actions speak louder than (your) words, Instagram.
It’s time to #UnmutePleasure. Please do the right thing and restore the @WeVibe account.