In a crackdown on free expression, Facebook and Instagram are censoring emojis to prevent solicitations for sex, a move that shows true hypocrisy. And here’s why.
In an August update on its community standards page, Facebook introduced rules meant to curb online sexual solicitation. The new guidelines specifically state that any “contextually specific and commonly sexual emojis” will not be permitted when combined with offers of sex.
As the tech giant stressed while speaking to reporters, its websites won’t censor emojis on their own, but only when combined with an “implicit or indirect ask for nude imagery, sex or sexual partners, or sex chat conversations.”
A man dressed as a demonic woman simulates the murder of a child by cutting a doll out of a pocket in the gut of his outfit while drinking the fake blood.
While certain people will probably applaud Mark Zuckerberg’s crackdown on sexual content on personal moral grounds, this move shows a startling hypocrisy on the part of the largest social media platform in the world. Especially as sitting on the website this very second is a recording of a drag show in which a performer fakes an abortion by cutting a baby doll out of a pretend stomach.
The clip is shocking and tasteless and includes guts and gore, but it begs the question as to why that’s allowed but sexual content is not. On American television we see this same form of backwards censorship. The Walking Dead on AMC can show children getting shot, but swear words such as f**k are prohibited. Likewise, you won’t see graphic sex, even as yet more gory violence is shown in all its glory.
As a free speech absolutist, I’m of the mindset that sexual solicitations between adults should be allowed, as should the grotesque faux abortion video, even if it upsets my own sensibilities. The issue though, as it stands now, is that Facebook needs to sort out what type of platform it wants to be. Picking and choosing what forms of expression is permitted is only going to create a bigger headache.
The company recently banned an educational video about breast cancer. The short public service announcement used a realistic doll to teach women how to check themselves for lumps. After an outcry, the decision was overturned and the video was reinstated, but it still shows how such policies can affect even good causes.
On top of all that, individuals like Alex Jones, Paul Joseph Watson, and Milo Yiannopoulos were completely deplatformed after it was deemed they violated policies regarding dangerous individuals and organizations. Now, I know Mr. Jones says some crazy things from time to time, but is any of his stuff any bit as grotesque as a fake drag queen abortion? I suppose it’s subjective, but I don’t think so.
Similarly, Yiannopoulos is a provocateur who says things meant to upset people, but how is that any different than the provoking nature of the drag queen’s video? To many individuals on the right, it’s equally as offensive as anything Milo has said to those on the left.
Personally, I don’t believe Facebook should ban emojis, sexual solicitation, or provocateurs. If someone doesn’t like something, it’s very easy to avoid whatever it is that upsets them. Each platform has tools to aid the end user in curating the experience as they wish, so maybe it’s time social media sites stop playing nanny and let adults thrive in the online world as adults should be free to do.
Except, of course, when it pertains to illegal content such as murder, something Facebook still struggles to block out as seemingly each week someone’s death is live-streamed on the service. Actions that are infinitely more terrifying than someone saying mean words or an account getting horny on main with an eggplant emoji.
Alex Jones lets you know how far he is willing to go to stop the madness going on in America.
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