Sex-ed content creators discuss shadowbanning and censorship on Meta platforms

Manzuri's Aastha Vohra and Sangya Project's Aashish Mehrotra and Tanisha Rao share their experiences with censorship around sexual wellness content on Meta.

By  Indrani BoseApr 16, 2024 10:41 AM
Sex-ed content creators discuss shadowbanning and censorship on Meta platforms
Challenges with promoting sex toys persist on Meta. From being shadow banned to accounts being restricted, sex-ed content creators face challenges with sexual health related content on Meta.

"It's difficult to educate people about sex when the content gets censored. I can't even talk about sex when its the core of my business. On Meta, terms and guidelines specifically say you cannot advertise products which talk about sexual gratification or pleasure. So the content one is viewing on Sangya Project's Instagram handle is deemed as smart or witty but the audience has to realize that its not out of choice. Meta has strong armed us into trying to say things without saying things; we are not being to explain the usage of our products fully to our audience; they are left it in the dark. It's not fair to them, nor is it fair to me," says Aashish Mehrotra, co-founder at Sangya Project, a sex-tech startup.

Aastha Vohra, co-founder of Manzuri, a sexual positivity startup says, "It is very strange that Meta doesn't allow us to advertise sexual wellness products because viagra and testosterone boosting supplements are allowed to be advertised on the platform. Somehow when the conversation occurs about women and their pleasure, the conversation is removed."

In the case of a man uploading a nude picture versus a woman uploading a nude picture on Instagram, there is more risk of the woman's picture being taken down. According to Vohra, this is common not only in the sexual wellness industry but even body positive influencers witness gender playing a massive role on Meta.

"The irony here is that initially Manzuri started as an Instagram page, and now we are not able to use the very same platform. Initially, the push for Manzuri came through word of mouth and even now it's the same."

While talking about her experience on LinkedIn, Vohra shares that two years ago, Manzuri changed the trajectory of sex related content on LinkedIn. A lot of emails went back and forth; we were able to reverse their policies and now when you read their policies, you will see they want to encourage a lot of sex positive content as well."

Vohra points out that content creators like Seema Anand also have limited number of follower compared to fashion influencer which also plas out a role because they talk about sex related things, the chances of content going viral loses significantly.

Mehrotra points out that to understand this censorship, one needs to also understanding how the government can affect Meta in that country. The review process is different in different countries.

Tanisha Rao, co-founder of Sangya Project says when Sangya's content has been removed, the team has written to Meta and contested. "We have gotten lucky at times, but there are glitches in that as well. Sometimes the content is getting down because of mass reporting and you don't get the opportunity to review it. If there is a product on a pillow with no human touch, you may get lucky, you have to be subtle on Instagram and lead the viewer to your website."

First Published on Apr 16, 2024 10:34 AM

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