Hardly any other social media company is as dependent on good-looking bodies as Instagram. So it seems a little ironic that the Facebook subsidiary is now changing its guidelines to the effect that so-called »suggestive« content is punished with a soft ban.
In addition to beautiful snapshots, it is usually the well-lit bodies of so-called influencers that make the social media platform Instagram so attractive. Numerous providers in the erotic, sex and porn industry have also recognized how well the platform and its friendly environment work for the promotion of stars and contents.
While the parent company has always been extremely prudish but has not yet been able to find genuinely effective methods against hate and fake news postings, Instagram has always been a friendly, eager to show off, cooler daughter. Although pornography and nudity were not allowed, eroticism and highly charged content, as well as discreet advertising for pornographic content, was okay.
Instagram chooses censorship
Now, however, the increasingly harsh censorship efforts worldwide are also having an impact on Instagram. Although erotic content will only be punished with a Soft Ban, i.e., it will be kept out of the Explorer function and the Hashtag collections, in the long run, this will mean invisibility and extreme hurdles when collecting new followers.
Existing accounts will not be blocked, and followers will still see the posts of subscribed accounts. But the ban from the Hashtag algorithm means that the central tool for acquiring subscribers is no longer open to erotic content. Over time, the offers will slip into insignificance, newcomers, especially new performers and artists, will have a harder time.
The industry loses access to mainstream outlets
At a press conference, the company announced that the new guidelines are intended to prevent the distribution of »posts that are inappropriate but do not go against Instagram’s Community Guidelines«. In plain language, this means that users of the platform will be subjected to arbitrary decisions. Because what is permitted by the guidelines is no longer simply to be shared.
After Tumblr and Twitter censoring its users, one of the most important advertising tools for the industry is thus also saying goodbye to the community. Once again, the erotic and porn industry is being pushed out of the mainstream media, and bit by bit the industry is to disappear from visibility. But where eroticism is censored, it is not far until similar mechanisms are directed against politically unpleasant voices. After all, sex, and thus bodily autonomy, is always a political issue.
The rule of arbitrary decisions and prudish ideas
The web magazine TechCrunch points to the opaque new regulation, which invites arbitrariness and will make life difficult for professional actors, companies, and artists. »if a post is sexually suggestive, but doesn’t depict a sex act or nudity, it could still get demoted. Similarly, if a meme doesn’t constitute hate speech or harassment, but is considered in bad taste, lewd, violent or hurtful, it could get fewer views.«
Algorithms will take over
Will Ruben is a product developer at Instagram and says that the company is training its moderators to label »borderline content« when looking for violations of policy. The goal is that at some point this can be done by an algorithm.
Instagram thus massively limits itself for the future and decides against freedom of expression and user-friendliness. Once again, years of work by account users, who have helped the platform to build relevance with their own content free of charge, will be massively harmed. As far as the industry is concerned, it can hardly rely on business partners from the USA if those are also active in the mainstream.