Time and time again, we’ve reminded people that big tech is rarely the friend of the adult world, or any of the people that choose to spend their time in it, whether for work or pleasure. The latest move from Facebook-owned Instagram takes it another step away from being a place for adult creators, or anyone that likes to share risque images.
Facebook says that changes to the way in which Instagram surfaces some types of content is changing, to ensure that “the content we recommend to people is both safe and appropriate for the community”.
While this might sound fair enough on first parse – you’d expect content that contravened terms and conditions to be removed from any service – it’s a bit more restrictive than just that.
Indeed, posts that don’t go against Instagram’s Community Guidelines won’t appear on Explore or hashtag pages. You will still see it in your Feed, if you already follow the account though.
“For example, a sexually suggestive post will still appear in Feed if you follow the account that posts it, but this type of content may not appear for the broader community in Explore or hashtag pages,” Facebook says.
This change isn’t only being applied to adult content – it applies to excessively violent images and spam messages too – but it’s another example of how expression of sex and sexuality is being muted by social media companies, prevented from making or receiving payments. It also follows the banning of pornography from Tumblr.
And when those platforms have billions and billions of users, the impact on adult indie creators can be significant – in this case, on their ability to build a brand and following.
The move isn’t really a surprise given Instagram’s parent company, as Facebook has never welcomed any sort of sensible discussion about adult content. The key in this latest move, however, is that none of the content breaches Instagram’s own terms and conditions, yet will still be subjected to limited reach.
So why bother with it at all anymore?