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Instagram vs. Porn Stars: Account Battle

Instagram vs. Porn Stars: Account Battle photo

Development of social networks has gone far beyond your friends` profiles, favorite movie groups ,and catchy business advertisements: for the porn industry, this is a valuable tool of communication with their fans. Specifically, Instagram is being a great place for adult celebrities to post their soft-core pictures and stories, but their accounts keep getting deleted for no reason. After over 1300 of them have been deleted, there is no wonder that sex workers state for being discriminated and demand to get their profiles back. «They just don`t like what we do for a living», they say.

Tech revolution in porn industry

Technologies evolution has transformed the porn industry completely and opened new channels of independent operation for sex workers (namely, using the webcam and custom video websites, and subscription services). Instagram performs as a great tool for reaching the fans: the platform allows both showcasing and advertising their personal brands. A deleted Instagram account would mean losing access to the audience and business relationships that make their main income and life-being.

However, it concerned not only porn stars. For example, an artist Rachel Rabbit White got her account suspended after she posted a few pictures from the Revolutionary Sex exhibition in New York. The photos were presented in the museum and were historic images. «Of course I avoided having nipples or genitals on the posted pictures», the artist says. «But my account was just gone in a couple of hours». Another case is pole dance hashtags that just returned zero results in the search. Even though Instagram later apologized, pole dancers were and are insulted by such discrimination.

Although most of the porn stars` pictures are quite provocative, they still respond to the Instagram policy and rules. Moreover, many mainstream celebrities post similar pictures but are treated in a completely different way. This is what makes porn stars feel discriminated: «I`ve never posted something explicit in my profile, but even the picture of me in tight jeans may seem provocative to someone» Ginger Banks states, «so Instagram should first learn how to determine art from pornography».

In 2018 a person (or a group of people) known as Omid started a campaign for reporting porn stars accounts on purpose: their clear intention was just having them deleted. It was accompanied by abusive messages expressing harassment and intimidation and led to hundreds of removed profiles. «People just don`t understand they ruin our primary marketing channel and source of income, they never care how many efforts we put to create an account with 400 000 followers».

Miss Alana Evans, the President of the Adult Performers Actors Guild, has started the battle to stay on the platform. Together with other members, they created a list of over 1300 sex workers stating that their profiles were deleted for «violating the community standards» although they never posted any nude pictures or sex videos. This campaign led to a June meeting with Instagram representatives to establish a new system for removed accounts. However, after that, they kept getting deleted.

The last straw for the group became the removed account of Jessica Jaymes after her death in September. It counted almost a million subscribers and later was reinstated.

Facebook and Instagram respond

It is well known for Facebook double standards: if the phrase «men are trash» is forbidden, the platform still allows using «women are trash», so there is no wonder women are being discriminated against for what they do for a living and their responsibility of this. Erica Lust, a famous Swedish erotic movie director, provides an example of Dan Bilzerian who posts pictures with naked women to highlight his status: they are not censored at all. Then Rupi Kaur publishes a picture of her fully clothed in bed and it gets deleted. Erica wonders what can stop men from dominating in real-life after media supports them online.

Facebook spokesman and the Instagram owner replied to the situation the following: «with the diversity of our users, we should have the content appropriate for everybody, even young people. That is why we need to set specific rules around sex and erotic spheres. However, despite we always take actions on reported content, we can and will reinstate it if we removed something by mistake».

The latest guidelines of the Facebook community state that users cannot offer any nude pictures or videos of sexual content, use sexual emojis or slang. However, you will never know what can be prohibited as training materials for Facebook moderators cannot be accessed by users. Such a strict policy is not popular in entertainment and journalism spheres: even Facebook`s own product, Crushes dating service, does not allow sex chatting despite it being mutual and non-commercial.

Small tips for adult content creators

Even though Facebook states they try to be fair when judging which accounts to delete, porn stars profiles still keep getting deleted. This is the battle that may not be won. So there are some tricks to avoid this when creating the content which might be helpful for those who work in the sex industry:

  1. Profile nickname. For your account you should use the name which does not consist of any sexual intent and does not attract much attention. Being honorific is a good way to achieve that;
  2. Links. If in your posts you provide direct links to adult content, it will surely be noticed by Instagram and may lead to deleting your account. Even if you have your own website, do not provide links to it in your social profile;
  3. Hashtags. Even if the picture in your post is innocent (for example, a puppy) but tagged like #facesitting or #boobs, it will get banned. Hashtags are important so choose them carefully: avoid using phrases that are likely to be reported;
  4. Post content. Be careful of what you write in your posts. Instagram states the platform is safe for children, so texts containing any sexual hints can be banned and reported. Speak in more general terms; make it sound more lifestyle or brand building. Thus you will still have access to your followers but do not get in a direct fight with the sensors.

Instagram can remove you literally for anything they think is inappropriate, even if you stick to all these pieces of advice. The goal of that was not to make it easy and obvious for them.

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