As most of you know, I set up a Pinterest account several years back to help promote my work. It included a board called “Amanda’s TG captions” where I pinned links to JPG files of most of my captions and story promos. Anyone familiar with my work knows the kind of images I use in my work: mostly fully clothed women (often in salons), some with lingerie-clad women, and a very few tasteful semi-nudes (always from the side or otherwise mostly concealed; no full-frontal nudity). In spite of this, Pinterest yesterday deleted that board, citing a violation of their community guidelines for acceptable content. Here’s the message I was sent:
We recently removed your “Amanda’s TG Captions” board because it included many Pins that went against our policies on sexually explicit or pornographic content. As we mentioned in previous emails, we don’t allow sexually explicit images anywhere on Pinterest. These typically include depictions of sex acts, sexual fluids and sexualized genitalia. Please delete any other Pins that go against our policies. Otherwise, we may suspend your account.
Does this not seem odd? The images pinned in that board were NOT pornographic. There were no depictions of sex acts, no fluids (sexual or otherwise), and no images of genitalia. I personally find such images distasteful and I never use them in my work. The reference to “previous emails” was also confusing; I only ever received one message about a pin being removed and it wasn’t one of mine; it was an image (no idea which one) that someone else had posted to Pinterest and I later pinned to one of my other boards. I never received any messages from Pinterest about my own postings, and no warnings prior to yesterday’s action.
Perusing their community guidelines was no help. They say they remove porn (which does not apply to my work), and they “MAY hide nudity or erotica” (my emphasis). Some of the images I use could certainly be described as erotic (women in lingerie), and a few involve partial nudity or mild bondage (e.g., a woman tied to a chair), so if they had a problem with any of that why didn’t they simply hide those images? Nothing else in the guidelines applies at all; NO sexual exploitation, NO minors, NO violence, NO self-harm, NO hate speech or discrimination. Nothing I’ve posted would appear to go against their policies. So why was the board removed?
I can only think of two possibilities. One is that Pinterest itself has an issue with transgender erotica, which would be troubling. The images themselves depict adult women; it’s only the text that suggests the person is actually a cross-dressing male or a man who has been magically placed in a woman’s body. If Pinterest is trying to criminalize (so to speak) TG fiction like that, then they’re guilty of bigotry. I hope that’s not the case, because it would certainly be a violation of free speech.
The other possibility is more likely. It’s that some busybody took the time to READ a lot of my captions (and possibly some of the stories on my website) and then complain to Pinterest about their content. Pinterest, for its part, then turned around deleted the board without examining the images. This would be someone’s attempt to suppress thoughts and ideas they don’t like and, sadly, Pinterest going along with it because it’s easier and cheaper than making the call for themselves.
I suspect there’s not much I can do about this. It’s their sandbox and they can set the rules and violate them as they see fit. I’ll create another board for my own captions, but I won’t bother to re-pin all the images from the old board. It’s not worth the effort. But as for leaving out pins that go against their policies, what can I do? I have no idea what triggered this action, and nothing I’ve posted before would seem to be a problem (I’ll omit the mild bondage though). It’s rather like being tried and convicted without ever having seen the charges or the evidence against me. Orwell here we come.