Let's Talk About Instagram's Censorship of Sex Workers

As some of you may have heard, Instagram has updated their Terms of Use. These changes are coming into effect from 20th December, which further restricts nudity, sexuality, strip club performances, and sex workers.

We believe these terms are a further attempt to censor and restrict SWers, nudity, and sexuality. Many users that rely on Instagram for their monthly income are under threat, and this is an unacceptable display of censorship. This places SWers further in the line of harm, as they will be unable to use a platform to draw attention to abusive clients and exploitative venues, or to form human connections during this global pandemic. Furthermore, nudity and sexuality are an inherent part of human existence that requires fair moderation rather than undue targeting and silencing.

text: what you should know

These restrictions of nudity and sexuality have been in place for a while now, but what will change is how Instagram manages these accounts that break these terms.

Instagram moderation is not applied equally. These bans rarely affect big account influencers and celebrities, but rather censorship is generally applied harsher to smaller SWer accounts.

The main aim of these rules is to restrict posts that “facilitates or coordinates sexual encounters
between adults.”.
Posts that are deleted are required to fit 2 specific lists of criteria. However, for several
years many are reporting posts deleted and accounts shadowbanned even if they don’t meet these criteria.

What separates a performance in a pole class versus a strip club other than the background? Questions like these were asked by @bloggeronpole, and Instagram declined to answer many of them.

As a pole brand, and a team of SW allies, we cannot sit on the sidelines and allow this censorship to occur without raising our voice and the voices of those around us. Without SWers standing up to the stigmas and bringing forth the art of pole into the spotlight, the entire pole industry wouldn’t exist – that includes your pole fitness classes. This means that none of us are exempt from fighting for the rights of the SWers that this industry is built upon.

- Sign the petition by @bloggeronpole asking IG to stop unfairly censoring nudity and sexuality

- Boycott Instagram on Dec
20th to show solidarity and allow SWers space to raise their voices

- Use @bloggeronpole‘s email template to email IG

- Don’t rely on the
algorithms – search for SWers accounts and share keep their content at the
forefront to help elevate SWer voices

- Listen to our chat with Stacey Clare, The Ethical Stripper and Co-Founder of The East London Stripper Collective

- Help spread awareness.
Strength comes in numbers!

- Reach out to your SWer
friends and make sure they are okay

Some accounts with information surrounding sex work and Instagram censorship: