Recently the Adult Entertainment industry, including photographers and artist have been waking up to this message.
“What’s going on here?”
Reviewing the photos from your phone, you think “how was that picture offensive?” Thinking perhaps it’s a hater jealous or envious of the photos, decided to report you, but why didn’t Instagram send some kind of a message just removing the picture.
Why has my account been completely disabled?
Seems it’s the ‘burning’ question for anyone who is not “famous”.
Why has the adult community become hard targets in having their accounts shut down while celebrities go unscathed, sporting wet tee shirts leaving nothing to the imagination, yet these are the same people where teenagers are looking up to these type of celebrities as role models.
As a part of the community in conducting interviews and discussing topics of the adult nature, I came across an account of a group APAG which stands for the Adult Performers Actors Guild. I was happy to see the union was created by people within the Adult industry and not by outsider who have not a clue on what it means to be in the Adult world, while thinking they can make a quick buck.
The group collectively has more than 40 years of experience within the Adult sector in one form or another and this experience has afforded this team to take on Instagram.
I contacted APAG Union and the Treasury Secretary, Mrs. Kelly Peirce connected with me and answered a few questions.
MB: As we all know Instagram owners, Facebook, were never an adult friendly network. When Facebook came on to the scene, they seemed to have tolerated the adult content within reason and for a while until recently when a surge of shutdowns began to happen. Why do you suspect this has been happening? What has been their reason?
KP: I think it’s a multitude of things, the most obvious is Fosta-Sesta, however from listening to many models over the last few months during this fight, they have been deactivating profiles since 2012, when Facebook bought Instagram. I kind of knew Facebook would break its promise of Instagram having autonomy, especially when I uploaded a few pics from Exxxotica the summer of 2012 and all of a sudden for the first time I started getting photos deleted with the community guidelines warning. I knew from then on things would be changing and it would no longer be as free as it was. In fact, they have been ramping up censorship the last few months, I remember reading an article two months ago where they would start limiting “borderline content”, even though a big part of their users are scantily clad models whether in the adult industry or not. Mark Zuckerberg claims it’s to make sure content is safe and appropriate for children, but then he allows celebrities like Kim Kardashian or even Grant Gustin from The Flash to show his bare bottom in a hot tub. They could easily make it safe for children by adding an 18+ option.
Their other claim is they are trying to help the fight against human trafficking and don’t want to be a third party site to sex work, however they could help by allowing Adult Models to be verified with blue checkmarks, where models have to share their ID and take a pic with a code on a piece of paper they give you to verify your identity. A lot of times human traffickers will steal the trafficked Identification and are normally scared to share such information on a site like Instagram/Facebook. In case it tracks the police back to them and their location.
MB: As with any industry, Adult entertainers are subject to stalkers but lately the stalkers have been more like trolls, reporting any type of content and/or pictures to have the entertainers account’s suspended without any warning from Twitter to Instagram, how has the team at APAG taken a handle on these types of situations? Are Instagram and Twitter taking your organization seriously in reactivating accounts?
KP: As you know APAG’s Union President, Alana Evans, Vice President, Ruby, Parliamentarian Jorge Reano, Union Member Michelle Montana and a few others we had in the meeting with us met with Instagram June 19th and it was a step in the right direction with Instagram, where we established an ongoing relationship with their policy team. We are hoping to educate their team on our marginalized industry and cultivate a relationship that will protect the legal workers of our industry on their platform from these type of users. The Union believes this is the only way to change things by utilizing collective bargaining and getting our seat at the table so we are heard. We can sit and complain about it or Unionize and start demanding better from our own companies in the industry and others outside it like Instagram.
As far as Twitter goes, we have not yet established a relationship with them or have done much their way until today. We have honestly been so overwhelmed with Instagram and InstaStrike with mostly Alana, Ruby, Amber Lynn, and myself leading the online fight and answering models complaints and concerns, but when we see they too seem to be banning models like Alana Croft today and others, they have alerted us this too needs to be addressed right now. Twitter is the one place models can sell their clips from their stores, paid subscription service, or advertise their cam shows without much blow back. We have to make sure Twitter keeps that freedom for our workers otherwise our wallets will definitely suffer.
Our plan is to go through company by company that most models utilize or could utilize to make money that discriminate against us, because of our legal jobs. We will collective bargain as a Union to make them see their discrimination against a legal workforce is unfair and it needs to change. We can no longer tolerate standing by and doing nothing with bills like Fosta-Sesta being produced. The longer we are complacent and passive aggressive the more we are censored and ostracize and the more our jobs suffer.
I do think they are taking us seriously due to being a Union. Unions have power when working people stand together, people standing together and Unionizing is what made the 40-hour work week and paid vacations. It also must legitimize us somewhat in their minds, when we have a federally recognized Union. Who would think the sex industry would have a Union?
MB: Reading the TOS (Terms of service), “You understand that by using the Services, you may be exposed to Content that might be offensive, harmful, inaccurate or otherwise inappropriate, or in some cases, postings that have been mislabeled or are otherwise deceptive. All Content is the sole responsibility of the person who originated such Content.”
While all businesses have their terms of services, in regards to obscenity, Instagram is saying don’t put content up where we are seeing actual sex or content related to sex but the abuse of animals, torture, accidents that have left people for dead, that is also obscene and offensive… Is Instagram using TOS to be discriminatory?
Should we live in a world where we have to protect our accounts by having it set up to a private status, only having to approve followers, which perhaps for most will take time out of their day just to approve hundreds of followers?
KP: I believe it’s more complicated than they are just targeting us. They are also targeting memes, plus size models in and out of the adult industry, scantily clad posters, and conservative users. I think they are trying to appease too many users with a one size fits all model. Mark Zuckerberg, has said many times he doesn’t like that there is an age limit on his websites. He probably thinks if he cleans it up he will attract more users, but what he is doing is alienating many users who are just everyday people who like posting scantily clad photos of themselves whether in the adult industry or not. He would make his vision more attainable if he just had an option to turn off sensitive content or viewpoints that may trigger certain audiences on his website on either side of the political aisle. Each user could decide what was accessible to them on their timelines and searches on their platform. I am not sure why these companies make it so complicated when they have some of the most brilliant developers working for them. This also would help avoid a world of private profiles.
MB: Has Fosta/Sesta caused this type of obstruction?
KP: I think Fosta-Sesta has made censorship more an issue, but if we are focusing only on Instagram/Facebook I would say they have always been about censorship since their business model changed to welcoming more users of all ages.
As with Adult performers, even photographers have suffered the ramifications of having their Instagram accounts terminated due to violation of TOS, without having the opportunity to correct if a picture was reported “offensive”.
Tim Weaver, a boudoir, glamour and fine-art nude photographer and Sam Dungeon, who has modeled for Tim, and has posted some of Tim’s pictures can share such experiences of having their accounts compromised and deleted time and time again.
While his pictures are erotically suggestive, Tim’s pictures do not depict any obscenities to have his account terminated such as the experiences he’s had multiple times just for sharing his photography.
Even within reason of his postings they would be no different like of celebrities past and present who have taken similar photos.
I contacted both Sam and Tim to answer a few question in regards to their experiences with Instagram and having their account terminated.
MB: While the internet has been helpful in our marketing to get our branding out there, how has these recent events with Instagram affected your modeling?
Tim: In some ways, having images and my account suspended on Facebook has helped, in that my name gets spread around by “word of mouth”.
Sam: In my case as mentioned earlier and as Tim also mentioned, it created quite the Buzz as people wanted to see what I had posted and they told their friends who in turn told their friends this trend quickly took my account from 500 followers to over 10k almost overnight. Just since your page started following me I have had 3 accounts taken down. There is no appeal process for the pictures that get taken down. IG does have an appeal process after they take your account down. However I have not won one yet I am 0 for 25 on the appeal process.
I also have a similar account on FB. The process is a bit more friendly as you can appeal the decision up to 3 times per picture that is removed. In the early days of my FB account Sam Dungeon I was in FB Jail more often than not. At which point I decided to create a back up page under the name Dungeon Sammy so I would alternate the use of the accounts as they were in FB Jail. My main Facebook account now has been out of Facebook Jail for the last 45 days straight which has never happened. The main reason for this is I decided to actually read the Facebook community standards. I have become somewhat of an expert on the matter and people actually DM me for advise on their appeal. So on FB I am 20 for 20 on the Appeal process because I quote the Community standards on my appeal. So long story short the fact that I always get my Pages and Pictures taken down have given me the "Bad Boy" persona. This has actually made my page even more appealing to followers.
Invariably, people want to see the image that caused the issue and, almost always, they were within Facebook’s community guidelines…they might be pushing the limits of it, but fall within that. So far, I’ve only had one image removed from Instagram, and it was an image that’s been over for well over a year. It allegedly shows some butt crack, but since it’s a silhouette shot (bodyscape), you have to do a lot in order to be able to see it. The casual observer would never have noticed. And, as far as I’m aware, there is no appeal process in Instagram as there is for Facebook.
MB: Do you think this gives an opportunity for a person to steal your brand and/or name?
Tim: There is always the potential for someone to attempt to leverage one’s absence from a platform to misrepresent themselves. But given the unique nature of at least 50% of my photography (shot in digital infrared), it would be very easy to track down since the look is so unique.
Sam: I have a huge following on IG and FB and I do what most people in the BDSM community don’t do, I post actual pictures of myself. So people are aware that it’s my page and not a fake. There have been several Pages that I have reported because they did steal some of my work and or post and claim to be them. So in that regard IG is good about taking those pages down.
MB: Why do you believe that a brand like Sports Illustrated can get away with suggestive photography and featured on headline entertainment news outlets, but yet someone who takes pictures for perhaps covers of alternative magazines is not accepted within a platform like Instagram. What are the differences?
Tim: From what I’ve seen Sports Illustrated (SI) doesn’t push the boundaries as much as boudoir, art-nude and erotic photographers do. Even with their “body issue” coverage, there is no nudity. I know several art-fitness photographers who shoot in a similar fashion and I’m unaware they’ve had any issues with banning or suspension, though I’ve never asked. I believe it also has a lot to do with perception of the creator. SI has long had a swimsuit edition, then the sports ‘bodies’ edition of famous elite athletes. That lends a certain acceptability of what they do, since it shows up on store shelves as each issue is published. Also, the fact they own their own publishing outlet helps…they control what goes on the website and in the magazines and can make it whatever they wish. All they have to do is drive people to those sites, where their rules (not Instagram’s) apply.
Photographers like myself tend to work closer to the edges deal with public perception, jealousy, conservative social values, etc., more than SI.
Sam: To add to this FB does allow for nudity if you are posting in protest of a cause or in the name of "ART".
I won’t mention any names you can Google this, several large companies have actually left FB and IG because of their unfair practices when taking pictures and pages down. The process is actually kind of a joke as many of us re-post pictures found on Facebook and they immediately get flagged.
MB: Do you agree or disagree, this is all about money, how much money Mark Zuckerberg and his clan can make off celebrities or is there something more?
Tim: Instagram and, ultimately, its parent Facebook are businesses. Businesses exist to make money for the owner(s) and / or shareholders. So, to say money is not a factor would be disingenuous. But neither is it the only factor. As mentioned above, the global reach of both of those businesses means that people in more conservative parts of the world have the ability to influence what shows (reporting posts). Also, jealous and hate (for the artist or model or both) are also a factor. I had the experience of having a photo reported in a Facebook group for photographers…something that had never happened in the group before to my knowledge. That report got me banned for 30 days, but I appealed. The Facebook review said it was within guidelines and reinstated my account and put the image back into the group, where it was reported again within 8 hours. I was banned again, but another review again showed it was within guidelines and everything restored. I wound up deleting the image from the group. The funny thing was, that same image had been posted to about 6 other groups, and it was never removed from them during this whole affair.
Sam: 100% agree with Tim well said!
MB: What have you both done to protect your accounts?
Tim: Sorry, I won’t discuss this topic apart from saying “vigilance."
Sam: As mentioned earlier I have become an expert on the process and Standards. I have learned to ride the line and quote the standards when I appeal whatever is taken down. Since I have 2 accounts actually 3 as I also have a Vanilla account and Admin the Page West Coast Kink on Facebook which is a closed/private group that is invitation only. So I have tested the guidelines in order to test what I could and could not post to keep my main Kink page out of Facebook “jail”. This actually landed my Vanilla page in FB jail for 30 days just recently.
MB: Anything else we may have missed out?
Tim: Not that I can think of.
Sam: Yes, I believe that if you have a private page that the general public can’t see your post that the bots should leave your page alone.
They should also not allow the people that follow you on your private pages to report your pictures. If people don’t like what you post they should leave your group or page. Example if you are paying and watching Cinemax and some nudity comes on you don’t call or report anyone, you simply change the channel.
After speaking with Mrs. Kelly Pierce, Sam Dungeon and Tim Weaver, it is obvious, the adult world and Instagram have a long way from coming to viable conclusions they can stick to.
The other issue are the trolls who have been on a hate spree reporting every adult account, making life a living hell for most porn stars who have established and invested in their accounts losing thousands of followers when accounts become disabled, in addition to fighting with Instagram having to take down fake accounts.
While trolls are reported as spam accounts and most get taken down, it doesn’t stop them from creating more accounts or even having additional accounts already in place in the event one account gets taken down, so they can continue to harass the adult entertainers.
So what happens now…?
Photographers have benefited from social media by sharing and profiting their works combined with having the ability to sell their products and include their personal website links in their social media accounts.
But what happens to the photographers who take erotic or artistic style photos that are sexually suggestive and shunned to share these photos on social media or having someone report them as being offensive? If this is the bread and butter of the photographer, why are their rights taken away from having to profit from their work?
Take the Baroque Art era which began in the 1600’s. How would social media take to some of that art today? Would someone stupid like Mark Zuckerberg think this was offensive, after all if he went to college like I did, this would be part of the curriculum to learn and understand who we are as a society today, through art and communication.
In addition, all of this supposedly “offensive content” brings out more of the stupidity in people.
Take for example, someone on twitter who thought this picture was offense,
https://nypost.com/2012/06/17/the-true-story-behind-the-iconic-v-j-day-sailor-and-nurse-smooch/ and claimed the woman was being sexually harassed after this sailor grabbed her and kissed her.
While everyone responded to sharing the breakdown of the history behind this iconic kiss, I responded with, “someone needs a hurt feelings report” which cost me an unfollow from him, but I don’t really care.
The sad part about this whole thing is that no one really knows their history. No one visits a library just to read and gain a little bit of knowledge and understand the world a little better.
People are so quick to judge, allowing their ignorance get the better of them while making claims of how smart they are with these “found discoveries”.
Why Mark Zuckerberg’s idea of Facebook Has Ruined Society and Continues to do so...
Once upon a time, before the internet and before any type of social media (as we know it today), the adult world was an underground realm of videos mostly fetched from video stores, remember those?
There wasn’t anyone standing next to you telling you, you shouldn’t buy these. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t think any person religious or not would walk into a video store just to harass people (and if they did I wouldn’t know).
With a computer and keyboard on hand, these trolls are nothing but roaches who like to take hours out of their own lives just to try and make others miserable.
Since the inception of the internet, history has shown how much we have connected as a society with a laptop and the touch of a keyboard, he we are today.
Social media basically began with what we know as blogs. People who shared stories, Friendster was a good example of that. Then came Myspace. With its pizzazz of basic HTML, coupled with Photobucket, people were able to juice up their pages with pictures, sparkles, etc. It was an array of different personalities filled with animated stories. Tom, who owned Myspace began having big social parties, where people can meet in a safe and open environment. But once Myspace was sold was when everything began to change.
Links embedded into pages, when clicked on, were now greeted with messages, “this is a phishing page, enter at your own risk”, especially with any adult related content.
When Facebook rolled around the flock followed the sheep (if only we knew better back then), it was a cleaner look but we couldn’t have a million friends and our posts were limited to a certain amount of words. Without getting long winded and having to share the history of how facebook has divided society by promoting hate, behind closed doors, the ultimate troll, Mark Zuckerberg had a plan to take over social media and so he did. Buying apps like Instagram and WhatsApp, most of us have sadly shared and allowed for those personal details of our lives be embedded within those Facebook pages.
Mark Zuckerberg ideas of continuing to buy apps to build up different outlets of social media continues to buy them out in order to monopolize and control.
So why are celebrities allowed to post more than risqué pictures and not get taken down. The answer is simple. Celebrities are paying Instagram to have their content branded and sponsored.
Although the people in the Adult world are celebrities in their own right, they aren’t “mainstream” celebrities, therefore they are the “other types” of actors, Instagram attitude is more as “we shouldn’t be promoting or endorsing this type of content”.
Yet, if you log into your Facebook account, hate is spewed everywhere, I don’t see that content being removed.
The Adult world still continues to be a million dollar industry, and I’ll let you in on a secret…”they ain’t going anywhere”.
If there’s someone out there creating a viable app like Instagram who has a flare for the adult sector and not afraid to pursue it, DO IT!
Create it! Promote it! Believe me when I tell you, “If you build it they will come”.
Don’t let someone like Zuckerberg, the embodiment of what a troll is, bully you from creating something great.
And not for just the adult world, but for everyone!
The Dominatrixes clad in latex.
The educator of sex.
The author who enjoys writing Erotica literature.
The artist who loves painting adult themed art.
The photographer who attends adult events to post their pictures so they can be called for more business and not be afraid their account will be taken down.
And for the photographer who enjoys taking artistic and suggestive pictures, just because.
There is nothing wrong with being part of an industry who entertains.
There is something wrong with those who try to suppress people in taking away their rights of their beliefs in how they choose to live.
Enjoy some of Tim Weaver's photography with model Sam and the two lovely ladies, Bettie and AnnDee