Last week, Instagram announced it would be clamping down what it deems “inappropriate” content, meaning that posts don’t need to violate its community guidelines outright to be penalised. Sexually suggestive content falls under this umbrella and such posts would be “limited from being recommended on [its] Explore and hashtag pages”, the company explained. In practise, a sexually suggestive post will still appear in your feed if you follow the account, but such posts “may not appear for the broader community in Explore or hashtag pages.”
The guidelines have already been described as vague and those whose livelihoods could be affected by the move argue the policy is unfair. Among them are sex workers in the UK, many of whom claim to have had their Instagram accounts deactivated in the last week, and they are calling on the social media behemoth to urgently clarify its stance.
UK-based sex worker Rebecca Crow says her account (@katsandcrows) was deactivated last Friday (12th April), and on Monday she started a petition urging Instagram to meet with her to discuss sex workers’ rights on the platform. Crow, who is currently posting on Instagram as @indie_brownbelly, has compiled a list of more than 100 other UK sex workers whose accounts have also been suspended, and won the support of more than 1,600 signatories at the time of writing.
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April 18th, 2019