In case some of you didn’t notice yet, social media platforms Facebook and Instagram banned the use of ‘sexual emojis’ such as the eggplant, peach and water drips.
Over the weekend, Facebook and Instagram censored the taboo emojis which have been described 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.
However, the social media platforms clarified that they will not be censoring “suggestive elements” on their own. In a report of Fast Company, the mentioned emojis must meet a combination of criteria to be subject to removal, and be a part of an implicit or indirect sexual solicitation. The move underlines not only how seamlessly emoji have been integrated into the language, but the platform’s struggle to define clear censorship rules in relation to sex and nudity.
Earlier to this, Hollywood singer Kanye West commented on the said matter saying that social media makes men suffer ‘like Jesus’ as he accused the platforms of fueling sex addiction and tormenting married men.
The reports also added that Facebook’s Community Standards state that the company recognizes that the platform is used to discuss and organize activism against sexual violence and exploitation, but describes the rationale behind their policies as “draw[ing] the line” at solicitation: “when content facilitates, encourages or coordinates sexual encounters between adults.”
The guidelines state such activity is prohibited so that users who are sensitive to those interactions aren’t hindered from using the platforms. And as emoji become an increasingly common component of online communication, it seems they too are subject to the policy.