Facebook bans contextually explicit emojis

Facebook and Instagram have announced they will begin removing posts that use emojis in a sexual manner. Illustration: Alex Stallsworth • The Sentry

Facebook and Instagram have announced they will begin removing posts that use emojis in a sexual manner.
Illustration: Alex Stallsworth • The Sentry

the social network gets picky in all the wrong ways

Facebook and its partner company Instagram have announced that it will begin to remove, flag, and potentially ban accounts that use emojis in a sexual context. This means that, for example, a user’s account can be banned or removed from the platforms if they are using emojis to cover body parts on a nude post. According to an article written by Lilly Smith in the publication Fast Company,  “Facebook and Instagram are now censoring what the companies describe as ‘contextually specific and commonly sexual emojis or emoji strings’ in a summer update to the Sexual Solicitation section of the company’s community standards.” Instagram and Facebook are essential to people’s expression in society, and the fact that Facebook/Instagram are getting choosy with this issue speaks to their lack of awareness as an organization.

The tech giant has proven that they are a flawed and untrustworthy organization, and these rules are not only a violation of free speech and expression, but it attempts to distract from the real issues that surround the company.

The ban is pointless and a violation of free expression and speech. If Facebook truly cared about their platform, they would have never let it become a haven for manipulative political influence.

What makes the platforms of Instagram and Facebook unique is that they allow society to create communities of their choice. They allow us to talk about issues in our country freely, honestly, and most of the time without repercussion. Facebook and Instagram users’ ability to speak freely on issues is quintessentially American. The nature of that platform has allowed people to raise awareness of issues that are important and speak freely about them. The ban is the first step in stripping those qualities. Facebook argues that this ban will combat sexual solicitation on their platforms, but that issue has never been the company’s biggest issue on their platform or a common public characteristic. 

For a company that encourages users to say “what’s on your mind” this rule seems hypocritical and laughable. If Facebook is going to allow organizations like the Ku Klux Klan to be on their platform, they should not be worried about people’s use of sexual emojis. The tech company’s new rule only attempts to distract from the fact that they are an organization that consistently lies to the public about their privacy policy and their ability to combat political influence on their platform.

Facebook is a company that is no stranger to controversy; their platform has been proven to impact elections both in the United States and abroad negatively. They have been accused and appropriately ridiculed by the public for their lack of user privacy. They have proven that they are  not only willing to violate user privacy, but now they want to control speech and limit expression. 

Facebook’s platforms have been shown to enable racism, sexism, and political manipulation all over the world.  Yet now, they are choosing to focus on banning sexual emojis. This is a weak attempt by a flawed company with a morally corrupt CEO in Mark Zuckerberg to once again distract the public and its users from their real flaws.

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