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Manifesto for sex-positive social media 6.17 MB

Social media is taking on an increasingly central role in shaping and constraining cultural life, popular discourse, and human sociality. Sex is an important part of this. Yet, social media policies are not very sex-positive. Through their community standards documents and content moderation practices, platforms currently make private, arbitrary and unaccountable decisions about the kinds of sex and sexualities that are visible in online space.

Major social media platforms have a history of exploiting sexual content to grow their user-base and then purging sexual content creators once they’ve ‘made it.’ This process of economic exploitation and gentrification treats sexual content creators as disposable. Such platforms employ surveillance technologies that screen for sexual content and nudity, share user information with law enforcement and advertisers and hold double-standards when assessing the explicitness of content created by lay users as opposed to celebrities. While over-policing sexual content, platforms still lack a holistic response to addressing harassment, image-based abuse, malicious flagging, sexual racism, theft of sexual content and the unethical scraping of sexual databases.

This publication sets out guiding principles that platforms, governments, policy-makers and other stakeholders ought to take into account in their design, moderation and regulation practices. It builds upon the generative work currently underway with the proliferation of alternative, independent collectives and cooperatives, who are designing new spaces, ethical standards and governance mechanisms for sexual content.

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