I think we all find ourselves in a hot soup of crap when it comes to social media. In this day and age, we have all become dependent on social media platforms to reach our audience.
When said platforms have the power to dramatically damage your reach — by shadowbanning entire accounts (albeit denied by IG reps), or deleting your account without explanation — then you know you’re in for a rough ride.
I do believe the fetish community — latex included — has been targeted by social media giants. But latex is just one of the many targets.
Anything remotely considered associated with sex has been targeted. And once an account has been targeted, it seems it can be sidelined forever. Such has been the case with us.
Bianca’s Facebook page was targeted in the late 2000s, and while it got the boot quickly and the page was prohibited from growing for years, eventually the reach almost died completely, and today it is but a hidden island where only a select few can see the posts.
In the 2000s, the page was stuck at 600,000 fans for many years. It even got deleted once without notice or explanation (I fought for a month with two e-mails per day until they re-opened it).
Then a change in Facebook algorithms seemed to unlock the shadowban and it grew from 600k to 1.5m fans within five months. Then it got the boot again, and forever this time. This is when we migrated to Instagram.
Bianca’s IG account has also been targeted — stuck at 500k followers for years, now losing followers slowly (now down to 480k) and with a highly impacted reach.
IG appears to have placed Bianca’s account under an eternal shadowban. This means it cannot grow or be featured in similar interests on the search page, and the posts don’t show in hashtags either. Furthermore, visibility of her account in search results varies — it comes and it goes, and lately has been off for months.
We’ve had dozens and dozens of photos deleted by IG. We feel most of these were unwarranted, especially when compared to all the racy pictures on other IG accounts that seem to be allowed to proliferate.
Yes, some of our photos bordered on the limits of IG’s guidelines. But the guidelines change every year, sometime twice per year. When it comes to glamour or fetish, there are many grey areas left for interpretation. So the only way to know where you stand is to test the waters.
Certain things can put a target on your back. And once your account has a target on its back, they’ll delete pretty much anything they want, no matter the nature of the actual photo.
In our case, I can tell you for certain that big boobs equals ‘target on your back’. Add latex and the target gets even bigger. If you display any sensuality in the photo, big boobs and latex can trigger a boot anytime.
The whole process feels random and arbitrary. There is no way to know anything, to talk to anyone or to address the issue. We have absolutely no way to fight this aggression, which directly affects the revenue of the business in which we have invested a lifetime.
I have sent probably 100 e-mails to IG and FB so far, and I can count on one hand the number of times an actual human answered me.
And no one will ever answer any of my questions about what to us feels like abuse from these platforms.
It is extremely discouraging. And when you see newcomers in your business generate millions of followers when your account has been stuck at 480k for over ten years, it is hard not to feel the injustice.
Some new accounts are allowed to grow — until they are not. Our impression is that eventually, every latex model is shadowbanned — it’s the nature of FB and IG. And everyone can have their account deleted.
This is why everyone is so paranoid and now has a back-up account. Back-ups are prohibited by IG rules, but we all do it because we know that when the time comes, it will be a very hard blow to our business.
Bianca’s IG got deleted without notice or explanation. One day we couldn’t log in any more, and we could not ask to change or retrieve the password, or even contact IG support.
I don’t think any social media company should have that amount of power over your business. To delete your presence entirely is one thing, but to prohibit you from even being able to communicate with them is hostile and sadistic.
I sent multiple communications per day to IG using their online forms, and never received any reply. Not one.
We really thought we’d never see the account again, but a fan who was operating a fan account on IG gave it to us as a backup account. (It had over 100k users and also got shadowbanned, but it was better than nothing!)
Then we suddenly found ourselves in some unexpectedly murkier waters.
We came across a guy who claimed he knew someone at Facebook (which owns Instagram) who could appeal the deletion of the account and have it reinstated — for a hefty fee. He initially asked for $5,000 but eventually lowered that to $2,000.
I accepted, stipulating payment upon re-activation of the account. Six weeks later the account came back up.
Was it this guy’s doing? He showed me a screengrab of his communication with his FB contact, but who knows what part he really played. I paid the money and that was that.
But it made me wonder: how many ‘guys with a contact at FB’ are out there? And do they have a role in accounts being deleted in the first place? I’ve been paranoid ever since.
Are scammers monetising social media’s draconian treatment of glamour accounts by filing the very complaints that get people shadowbanned and deleted, and then offering to fix things for a fee?
Our overall experience, when it comes to Bianca’s presence on Facebook and Instagram, has been one of torture. It’s been 14 years of constant harassment from the tech giant.
We have become pretty resilient in the process, since we have no other choice. But we operate her accounts in constant fear of being deleted — for good, next time.
And with that comes the gloomy thought that it could be the final blow that will kill our fetish venture once and for all.
LatexFashionTV’s Cole Black is a well-known UK-based filmmaker making videos that showcase latex fashion, plus the models and designers who wear and create it. He has run into numerous censorship issues with social media platforms despite LFTV’s distinctly family-friendly, non-porn approach. Cole’s story below combines his initial response to interview questions with quotes from subsequent chats
I try and be careful with the content I post on social media in general, writes Cole. But it seems to be getting worse lately.
Latex by its very nature is form-fitting and is always going to be considered sexy, but it’s often deemed NSFW or Adult Content even if it’s a high-end fashion image.
Which can make it challenging to keep an online presence going.
Even casting for models as a photographer is made difficult. Purpleport for example classes all latex images as ‘adult’. It’s their platform and their rules of course.
But it seems crazy that Vogue Italia can have Justin Bieber and his wife Hailey on the cover wearing latex, but you couldn’t then post that image to a modelling site.
Purpleport is so strict that its mods even contacted me once to politely ask me to take down a latex promo video I had embedded on my profile page.
Video platforms can also be tricky. Miley Cyrus can gyrate in a skin-tight latex catsuit with vagina dentata embellishment [projecting steel ‘teeth’] on YouTube, and that’s fine.
But if I post a video of a latex cosplay at Comic-Con, it’s instant flagged as mature content.
And Venus Prototype, who made Miley’s catsuit, had her Instagram profile deleted, although the images remained on Miley’s own Instagram. Luckily Venus managed to have her account reinstated but not without getting lawyers involved.
Even glancing at Venus’s account now, there’s plenty of clips and images I wouldn’t try to get away with myself. But she’s only reposting what her celeb clients do.
The difference is that they’re blue-ticked and verified, so they’re held to a different standard and set of rules.
Last October I had a video thumbnail deleted because the model in the image had bare shoulders. I appealed it. After a few days it was reinstated.
But then it was automatically flagged and pulled down again an hour later. I presume the automated system they use doesn’t like bare skin. Transparent latex or anything nude-coloured is also flagged quickly.
It’s also difficult to monetise content with latex clothing on YouTube. It’s common for vloggers and YouTubers doing fashion hauls to have videos suppressed or demonetised.
Even the LatexFashionTV Patreon which I started over the summer isn’t entirely safe. Despite all my content being YouTube-friendly, I had to set it to ‘adult’ just to be safe. Which means I’m not featured in their central search directory, making it harder for people to find me.
And because it’s marked ‘adult’ it can set up false expectations. One fan enquired about topless videos of models and I had to explain that’s really not what I do.
I don’t mind rules or guidelines. All of these platforms are someone else’s sandbox we’re playing in. I just wish the same rules applied to everyone equally.
I’ve been asked if I think any of the people who’ve complained about social media takedowns should have anticipated that the material they’re referring to would fall foul of platform rules.
I think people can become desensitised to
their own content over time, and maybe they don’t look at it from the perspective of a platform trying to protect against 12-year-olds seeing something shocking.
That’s not to say platforms aren’t scummy. They are. And they have stupid rules that are incredibly dumb. But if you’re posting OnlyFans links on TikTok, for example, you’re gonna get flagged sooner or later.
I don’t know of too many cases — other than, presumably, Instagram and its owner Facebook — where one platform actually monitors your content elsewhere. But it’s entirely possibly.
Patreon for example are pretty transparent, and they’ll check your content on other platforms to make sure it’s still within their guidelines. That’s literally in their terms and conditions if I recall.
So if I started a latex porn site, for example, and never mentioned it on Patreon or plugged it or anything, I’d still be kicked off their platform as it’s not in keeping with their stance on adult content.
The role of AI in platform sanctions cannot be ignored. Something I haven’t spoken publicly about before was that the music I license for my films was misidentified by an algorithm that crawls videos on Vimeo and caught a bunch of films. Wrongly.
Overnight, my account, that I pay for, was on its last strike. And fighting it set me on a path where I would have to appear in court in New York.
Vimeo support was no help. They just said “We recommend not using copyright music”. Which I wasn’t.
Vimeo brands itself as a filmmakers’ platform — it has tools where production companies can upload different versions of the same film with ‘temp’ music that’s of course copyrighted. But it still wouldn’t help.
Ultimately the claim was withdrawn. I don’t think Vimeo appeared in court either. The actual takedown document was a list of hundreds of URLs flagged by a bot.
On YouTube there are countless examples of TV stations using clips of a video, then the original videomaker getting a takedown notice for their own content.
Because it’s been featured in that TV station’s YouTube channel and the station is a bigger fish, YouTube assigns copyright to the station and assumes the original must be the copy!
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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