Toronto
2 min

Facebook vs porn

This photo by David J Romero was recently deemed too racy for Facebook. Xtra editors received a stern warning from Facebook staff, who removed the photo.

I’m not on Facebook that much anymore. This is mostly because, as far as social networks go, I never really got the point. There’s just something innately weird about giving a website all of your personal information just so you can get all your friends to like a picture of a cat wearing a jaunty hat. Well, that and play Scrabble. Scrabble is totally the shit.

But there’s another reason to avoid Facebook: it’s not exactly tolerant of gay sexuality, especially when it comes to porn. At least once a week on Twitter, a porn model calls out Facebook for deleting his profile for no discernible reason. On Facebook, you can have pages for hate groups like the National Organization for Marriage, but God help you if you happen to be a gay porn model who wants to throw a couple shirtless pics up. Hell, Courtney Stodden — a girl whose sole claim to fame is that she married a 51-year-old man at age 16 — has her own page on which she posts bikini pictures of herself. Yes, let that sink in: grown adult men sharing shirtless pictures of themselves with other like-minded adults? Unacceptable! A teenage girl acting like a 40-year-old Vegas stripper? Go right ahead!

A cursory glance at Facebook’s stance on adult content isn’t exactly what you would call enlightening. The statement I found on its help page does note that adult content is not allowed, but even that’s rather vague at best. According to Facebook, adult content “may include nudity, sexual terms and/or images of people in positions or activities that are excessively suggestive or sexual, or provocative images.” And when Facebook happens to be the judge, jury and executioner on this bylaw, there’s a certain amount of leeway there with which you can get completely screwed.

Look, I get it: you can’t post actual porn on Facebook. That’s their rule, and it’s a pretty easy one to follow. The problem is that most of the pictures that get models and studios kicked off the site are not porn. Most of them are just random, candid photos from their day-to-day lives. And that’s where the thinking becomes troubling: the idea that anything porn models do is porn. The idea that every aspect of their lives is sexualized because of their career.

Facebook’s policy on banning gay porn models for arbitrary reasons is reflective of the way those in the business are generally seen by the public: you work in porn, therefore everything in your life must revolve around sex. You know, because someone’s personality is entirely composed of his or her mode of employment. I have no problem with the owners of a website implementing their own rules for the sake of maintaining a sense of order, but only if they make sense. But hey, if Facebook wants to take a stand, why not? It’s not like you can find porn anywhere else on the internet, right?