Facebook released a new set of community guidelines this week centered around ‘sexual solicitation’. The guidelines specifically harm LGBTI users, by disallowing them from discussing their identities.
In justifying the new community guidelines, Facebook wrote in its policy rationale that the discussion of drawing ‘attention to sexual violence and exploitation’ is important, but it wants to ‘draw the line’ at content encouraging or coordinating ‘sexual encounters between adults’.
The community guidelines then go on to detail what kind of content users are no longer allowed to post.
Some of this banned content includes mentioning ‘sexual preference/sexual partner preference’ and ‘commonly sexualised areas of the body such as the breasts, groin or buttocks’.
This update from Facebook comes on the heels of Tumblr’s decision to remove all of its adult content.
Further, these standards apply to all of the companies Facebook owns, including Instagram and Facebook Messenger.
‘For example, on Messenger, when you send a photo, our automated systems scan it using photo matching technology to detect known child exploitation imagery or when you send a link, we scan it for malware or viruses,’ a spokesperson told Bloomberg.
What people are saying
People are upset at social media companies’ decision to start censoring such content for numerous reasons. While drawing a hard line on exploitative content is good, blanket censoring harms marginalized groups like LGBTI people.
Users are taking to Twitter and elsewhere to express their discontent. Making rules like these both continue to take away spaces for LGBTI users, as well as equate LGBTI identities with harmful sexual content.