If you post — or just enjoy looking at — latex photos or videos on social media, you’ve probably noticed that this type of content is subject to policing by the major platforms.
Until fairly recently, the perceived perils of posting latex content were that you might get the occasional warning or image deletion for stuff deemed inappropriate — possibly, you might assume, after someone objected to it.
In the past year, however, there appears to have been a substantial increase in the number of complaints from the latex community about deleted posts, shadowbans (where content visibility is restricted) and even suspended accounts.
What exactly has been going on with latex? We have looked at a range of social media sanctions reported to us, with a view to establishing the nature of the problem, why it’s happening, and what if anything can be done about it.
As we all know, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and the others all have terms and conditions you agree to in order to use their platforms.
In return for providing free access to platform-wide content and free hosting for your own stuff, they get control of pretty much everything else.
Evidence from the latex community suggests that what these platforms don’t do is police latex content in a way that is transparent, consistent or fair.
People who find themselves on the wrong end of latex sanctions frequently complain of being penalised not only without warning, but also without explanation.
When they do get an explanation, it’s an automated response worded in such general terms that it is usually not possible for them to discern what they specifically did that led to the alleged infringement.
This means that ‘offenders’ can rarely draw a clear enough lesson from their experience to enable them to avoid infringing in future — which is what most would obviously prefer.
Instead, for the most part, they are left to guess what they did wrong, apply their putative diagnosis to subsequent posts, and wait to see if acting on that diagnosis prevents them getting banned again.
In addition, very often, the platforms provide no actual opportunity to appeal against sanctions that have been applied.
So it’s little wonder that, in 2021, latex vs social media has become a burning issue.
Technology platforms have a history of building their success on attracting content creators/influencers with lucrative monetisation offers, then moving the goalposts later on. The big names on these platforms will usually be insulated against changes in platforms’ policies, but the same courtesy is not extended to smaller users.
Facebook did this goalpost-moving trick first, YouTube followed, and Instagram now seems to be copying it. “Instagram built its entire appeal on pictures posted by slutty girls,” claims one model, “and now they no longer want that content. It’s so unfair.”
But it’s the cack-handed way the platforms implement new policies at a personal level that is the cause of most anger and frustration. And much of this comes down to the platforms’ over-reliance on AI.
The thing that Facebook, Instagram and the rest seem unwilling to address is that, despite the enormous cost savings from automating processes that previously involved humans, artificial intelligence has a remarkable capacity for real stupidity.
And it appears to be largely the relative dumbness of social media algorithms that has driven latex models, photographers and designers sometimes to the edge of despair. Especially — though not exclusively — during the last 12 months when they’ve also been coping with the coronavirus pandemic.
A feeling has even emerged that these platforms purposely chose the year of lockdowns and other pandemic-related misery to increase pressure on the latex community specifically. To many, it felt that what social media was implementing was nothing short of a deliberate latex purge.
If you were one of those looking for indisputable evidence of an anti-latex mindset across social media, you probably thought you’d hit the jackpot when, in November 2020, Instagram announced a latex hashtag ban.
The hashtag #latex was hidden on Insta, affecting probably thousands of people who used it.
Panic ensued in the latex community, with many people convinced they were being persecuted for their latex interests, and many also asserting that their livelihoods had been damaged or destroyed by the sudden imposition of ‘invisibility’
Informed sources, however, not only suggested a less incendiary explanation for the ban, but also predicted reinstatement of the censored hashtag in due course.
So we’ll begin below by taking a closer look at the Instagram hashtag ban — a significant red herring that encouraged people to see a conspiracy where, say insiders, there was merely coincidence. LFTV’s Cole Black and Dutch latex-loving actress Amarantha LaBlanche bring a welcome sense of perspective to this story.
But let’s be clear: this doesn’t mean that Instagram hasn’t been directing more enforcement against latex content, or that there is no justification for seeing latex vs social media as a real issue. Nor does it absolve Instagram or its owner Facebook from charges of acting in ways that are not transparent, consistent or fair.
Further down this page, the story of one UK model/influencer, Psycatt, illustrates almost all the unpleasant surprises that may lie in wait on social media for someone trying to post about latex fashion.
In her case, picture deletions are only the beginning of the story: she has also been repeatedly targeted by scammers who steal her name and her fashion images to set up fake mistress accounts and websites.
And what this soon taught her was that on social media, it’s the victim rather than the perpetrator who gets the blame.
Montreal photographer Martin Perreault is the next of our contributors, kicking off Page 2 with the sorry tale of his experiences maintaining Bianca Beauchamp’s various social media accounts.
The pair — still business partners though no longer a couple — claim to have suffered every indignity social platforms could throw at them in some 14 years of trying not to get permanently deleted.
“Big boobs put a target on your back,” he says. “Add latex and display any sensuality, and you can get a boot at any time.” And, he adds, you might even find yourself having to pay some shadowy figure to get your account restored, as they did.
Following on from Martin and Bianca, LatexFashionTV’s Cole Black appears in his own right as a case study. Cole has a massive amount of experience with latex vs social media issues, particularly (as you might expect) in relation to video content.
Be sure to read his account if you’ve ever assumed that YouTube is the villain of video policing but professionals’ choice Vimeo is a far more accommodating host to deal with.
The third and final page of this article kicks off with nine short case studies featuring models, designers, a photographer and a latex artist, all of whom have had run-ins of one kind or another with social media.
In A-Z order, these are Alejandra Guerrero, Elena Lovebite, Latex Lady P, Madmoiselle Jou, Michelle Mildenhall, Pandora Deluxe, Pippa Latex, Pixie (aka Witchy Pixie) and Venus Prototype, with a string of sorry tales between them.
The article concludes with a piece by the UK fetish scene’s favourite lawyer, Myles Jackman, who provides an overview of the kind of latex vs social media issues that legal advice can help to resolve.
If you’re having social media problems, Myles invites you to get in touch with him “for some free legal advice and to discuss your options”. The Fetishistas has used his services and he comes highly recommended by us.
The ban came into force in late November 2020. LatexFashion TV’s Cole Black, a seasoned observer of social media policing behaviour, was one of the first to comment about it.
Posting on Facebook on November 26, he wrote:
“On the Instagram latex crackdown. Yes, they are being more aggressive with taking down content they deem inappropriate. No, they haven’t banned the latex hashtag because of this.
“Both things are true but not connected.
“Instagram’s algorithm finds explicit images that shouldn’t be there. Let’s say explicit porn. The system bans hashtags the pornsters use in posts. It’s that simple.
“Latex is currently banned. Bikini and beauty used to be. So were lipstick and handbag once.”
So yes, #latex was banned, but because, for Instagram, #latex had become too synonymous with explicit content — a situation that required adjustment.
“It’s been happening for years,” Cole continued. “It’s not a boycott. It’s just the way the system works. Give it a week or two and it will be OK to use again.”
If it were a boycott, he added, why would Instagram go to the trouble to ban #latex but not #latexdress, #latexfashion or #latexclothing, which were unaffected?
“Social media platforms decreasing the reach of images they find undesirable… that’s an entirely other topic. But this is nothing to do with that.”
Responding to Cole in the same thread, Amarantha LaBlanche — latex aficionado, model, actress, musician and, importantly, erstwhile employee of Instagram/ Facebook — thanked him for “being rational”.
She commented: “So much uproar, and while I totally understand people’s emotions, it seems to have become yet another conspiracy theory within hours.
“I also think it’s simply an automated check that recognised this hashtag being used in high volumes of flagged/blocked posts, which affects the algorithm temporarily.
“In my time as an IG/FB employee, most of the blockages and suspensions were performed by an automated system that frequently runs checks. Not one human is even involved in the process.
“That’s why content sometimes may even get flagged after being online for a long time.”
She added, “Only a small percentage was due to actually flagging the content, and most of those rejections, suspensions and blocked accounts had never even been reviewed by a human employee (until further escalation).
“If they wanted to target latex wearers, they’d indeed also have banned or decreased display of other similar latex hashtags.”
So here‘s a useful insight into the role AI plays in the social media behaviour we humans are naturally inclined to attribute to other humans. In most of these processes, there is no human ‘they’ — only an ‘it’.
Incidentally, Instagram reinstated #latex after about eight weeks, on January 23 this year. So Cole was right about its return, if a little optimistic about the timescale.
Less than 24 hours after this Fetishistas article was posted, Instagram announced the hiding of the hashtag #latexcatsuit.
According to the official notice shown on the right, the ban was imposed “because the community has reported some content that may not meet Instagram’s guidelines”.
Well at least we can’t be blamed for tempting fate — we didn’t specifically mention #latexcatsuit among the hashtags above that weren’t banned when #latex was.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, eh?
Within the latex community, models are the most active on social media and seemingly also most frequently hit with platform-imposed sanctions. In early 2020, London-based latex model Psycatt felt that censorship on social media had reached “draconian” levels far beyond the occasional photo takedown. She has also fallen prey to scammers who stole her pictures for fake soliciting accounts — while she got treated as the fraud. In the first of our latex case studies, Psycatt relates her experiences over the past year…
On one platform, writes Psycatt, my account was suddenly shadowbanned. Photos that had been online for years were taken down without notice, and I was given a suspension/ban.
Because of previous restrictions, I had already stopped posting anything too revealing or displaying too much skin, and certainly none of the more artistic horror work I had been posting before.
Like a Kafkaesque guessing game, I was being punished for something which wasn’t explicit in the rules, but I would only find out what it was once I’d done something wrong.
But which of the options was it? Was it the way I was posing? How curved my fingers were in an image? Perhaps it was someone who disliked me, who was reporting my images?
The truth is I’ll never know. Because in spite of multiple attempts to get transparency on Instagram/Facebook’s terms and conditions, never once have I had a reply that allowed me to determine how my photos were offensive.
To add insult to injury, the images taken down from my profile were being used by fake accounts on Instagram.
So not only was I barred from posting photos of myself, but these fake accounts using my brand to scam unsuspecting victims with soliciting (definitely in breach of T&Cs) could post these same images with impunity.
It became a really stressful game of wack-a-mole: for every account I reported that was taken down, five more would pop up. They created whole websites, stealing the Psycatt name and images I use strictly for latex fashion, and using both to push sex work.
Instagram made it extremely hard for me to act against these frauds. At one point I even sent a scan of my passport so they could discern it was me in the photos. The reply I received was that the name on the passport didn’t match the artist name on my account.
The psychological effect of this policy was really crippling. What could I do to fight back? Instagram had no feature to help me and seemed adamant about reducing my account visibility and punishing me, despite my determination to comply with its guidelines.
For months, my account was stagnant — no growth, and my images having zero reach.
It’s very hard to run a brand while trying to ‘guess’ at every turn what punitive actions may be imposed, and fearing that you’ll be punished, simply, it seems, for choosing latex as a fabric. Particularly when you see accounts of much more scantily clad — but not latex clad — models not being affected.
By May, quite a lot of other models I know who specialise in latex fashion had had their accounts deleted too. All this certainly led me to wonder: are these social media giants targeting latex specifically?READ MORE – GO TO PAGE 2 OF 3
ON PAGE 2: Bianca Beauchamp and Martin Perreault’s 14 years of social media torture;
PLUS: LatexFashionTV’s Cole Black on the platform issues facing a non-porn filmmaker.
ON PAGE 3: More latex vs social media cases from modelling, photography, art & design
PLUS: Lawyer Myles Jackman outlines social media issues legal advice can help resolve
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