Facebook and Instagram are censoring sexually explicit emojis.
Through its updated Community Standards, the social media giant is attempting to prevent online sexual solicitation, however, it has been accused of censoring sexual expression.
The new rules, which were introduced in August but first spotted by adult industry news website XBIZ, state that any "contextually specific and commonly used sexual emojis" will no longer be permitted alongside sexual statements.
This means that peach emojis, aubergines and water droplets are no more, as the standards consider them to be “contextually specific and commonly used sexual emojis”.
The new guidelines warn that an account can be flagged if users ask for or offer content “implicitly or indirectly” related to sex, nude imagery, or sex chat.
There are two new criteria added to this section.
The first is titled "Offer or Ask." It reads, "Content implicitly or indirectly* (typically through providing a method of contact) offers or asks for: Nude imagery, or Sex or sexual partners, or Sex chat conversations.”
According to these new rules, promoting or simply linking to one’s Onlyfans page breaks community standards.
The second discusses “suggestive elements.” This is where Facebook mentions the use of emojis:
“Content makes the aforementioned offer or ask using one of the following sexually suggestive elements: Contextually specific and commonly sexual emojis or emoji strings, or Regional sexualized slang, or Mentions or depictions of sexual activity (including hand-drawn, digital, or real-world art) such as: sexual roles, sex positions, fetish scenarios, state of arousal, act of sexual intercourse or activity (sexual penetration or self-pleasuring), or Imagery of real individuals with nudity covered by human parts, objects, or digital obstruction, including long shots of fully-nude butts.”
This would mean using the peach emoji in your caption is enough to have your post removed, and repeated violations can land your account being deactivated.
So too, would it be against standards to cover your genitals in a photo using the eggplant emoji.
A spokesperson for Facebook told XBIZ: “Nothing has changed in terms of the policy itself or how we enforce it, we simply updated the language to make it clearer for our community.”
This censorship adds to the growing limitations of our online landscape, which provides a far higher leniency towards the regressive times of old.
The new rules have deemed social navigating increasingly difficult for creatives, artists and members of the sex work industry.
With Tumblr cracking down on pornography in recent months, too, Twitter seems to be the last social network that allows talk of an explicit nature.
Main image by Urban Outfitters
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