Current content policies on social networks do not actually address (or even acknowledge) that maybe you, personally, do not want to see pornography. These policies simply make it so no one is allowed to post adult content — but they do not define adult. They cannot define it. And because they cannot define it, everything from Full Body Project by Leonard Nimoy to ads for safer sex are at risk.
After surprising users by completely banning adult content on a blogging platform previously committed to freedom of expression, Google has done another volte-face and rolled back their draconian policy. A Google employee even acknowledged that users post “sexually explicit content to express their identities.”
We reached out to people in both the tech and adult industries to see what the options look like for the creators of adult content who will be displaced by Blogger’s ban on sexy and we have some good news. You’re not totally shit out of luck. It’s time to pack it up, and we’ve got some options lined up for you.
We live in a world where some stigmatized groups have finally achieved a rightful place in the streets where they can congregate and bring their grievances to the state. But just as they have attained this, they’re finding that new, much more effective avenues to change are being denied to them by powers that aren’t under any obligation to the public.
Today the e-mail marketing service provider MailChimp pulled the plug on SexcusÃ© Moi, a high-end online boutique that offers sensual products ranging for adults. In an e-mail to the boutique’s founder, MailChimp said, “Nothing personal against your content or industry; there are just some very strict spam filters and ISP rules that we have to comply with to maintain the best possible sending environment.”
Over the past few weeks, Chase bank has been mailing members of the adult industry informing them that the bank is closing their accounts. While we’ve seen this kind of attitude from financial institutions before, we’ve never seen anything of this magnitude. Banks and payment processors have become incredibly risk-averse in the wake of efforts by the U.S. Department of Justice to combat fraud, but some suspect this exaggerated response is a ploy from financial institutions to garner bipartisan support and get the government off its back.
Increasingly, Twitter has come to realize how difficult it is for social networks to allow people to self-express in today’s sex-negative and panic-prone environment. Despite refusing to do away with porn after the “Dildoplay” incident that infuriated Apple, Twitter nevertheless began to hide results for certain hashtags on Vine, like #nsfw and #boobs. And now, a year later, it has finally decided to give in and ban the porn.
“When we’re too scared to defend sex work, because it’s not our battle, because there’s a legal gray area we’re scared to touch,” writes sex educator Sabrina Morgan, “we’re saying it’s okay to let the sex workers — our front-line sex educators — take the bullets as long as we get to play the game. And we get to play the game only as long as we play it safe. Playing it safe means being afraid to show what it is that we’re teaching.”
The intent to make the subset of men interested in the revamped My Little Pony franchise acceptable to the mainstream has ignored a very real — and often vilified — aspect of “brony” culture: sex. The outlet for self-expression created by this fandom is vast and, as with other fandoms, this will necessarily include the natural biological aspect of sex. The reaction to this, however, has been overwhelmingly negative. A whole new word has been created for them to set them apart from brony culture: they’re cloppers.
Last month, a California man initiated a petition asking the Obama administration to erect filters that automatically block pornography online. “We are asking for greater protection and responsibility from Internet Service providers and our country,” wrote the author. “We are asking that people who are interested in porn should have to seek it and choose it.” You’ll be glad to know that the petition failed miserably.