Instagram's newest policies don't seem to have considered the continued livelihoods of sex workers and OnlyFans creators.
OnlyFans creators are getting banned from Instagram, this is why.
is an organization that helps victims of revenge porn and abuse navigate resources; although the account solely posts hand-drawn graphics and images that say things like “sex work is work,” it was put under review on December 22, 2020. Though the account was eventually restored, it received no explanation from Instagram about what lines had been crossed to begin with. And, as the account's co-founder, Elena, tells Refinery29, they have been so inundated with creators who need help on the platform, that she now focuses much of her time on helping sex workers safely post on Instagram.
Similarly, sexual health companies, such asKegelbell, an FDA-approved kegel system, have faced issues when it comes to how to describe its products. “We have to code the language used on social media,” explains founder Dr. Stephanie Schull. “For example, we have to use the word ‘women’ when it would be more inclusive to state ‘people with vaginas’ because the word ‘vagina’ — [even] in a sexual dysfunction context — will get us flagged.” While the word vagina is not specifically disallowed on Instagram, when used in the context of sex and sexual pleasure, it is likely to get flagged. Kegelbell, which can be used for a variety of reasons, such as sexual dysfunction and bladder control issues, has also had to censor its ads, removing any mention of sexual health use of the product. “The attitude that Facebook and Instagram have adopted is a reflection of deeply ingrained misogyny, positioning sexual health and anatomical differences as vulgar and offensive,” Dr. Schull says. “The result is that women with easily addressable issues continue suffering.”
As a private company, Instagram is under no obligation to offer users a platform with no oversight or consequences for what is posted; the platform provides a service to its users and so is allowed to censor material as it deems fit. But, unfortunately, where they've drawn the line of acceptability has been to the detriment of the adult content creators on OnlyFans, which is all the more ironic since OnlyFans, who declined to comment for this story, was originally created as a paid extension of Instagram, a place where fans could see more intimate content from their favorite creators. headtopics.com
Over the last year, OnlyFans has thrived — due, in large part, to the users who arrived because of the platform's sex workers. But, though OnlyFans offers legal services to its creators who have had leaked content, they have not offered similar help to those who are being removed from Instagram. This isn't the first time rich and powerful corporations have profited from sex work without providing adequate support for the people actually laboring, of course, and it surely won't be the last. Meanwhile, sex workers will continue to find ways to earn income, ever vigilant of the fact that there will always be someone out there happy to exploit them, rather than collaborate for a mutually beneficial solution.Read more: Refinery29 »
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