Daniel Maidman – Artist
I’ve had multiple drawings and paintings flagged and removed over the several years I’ve been on Instagram. The only case in which I’m specifically aware of which piece it was is the one shown here. I reposted it a few days later, and the second post is still up. Although the model posted it to her own timeline and it was immediately flagged and removed.
I find Instagram’s inconsistent approach on this really frustrating. In almost all other ways, they’ve gotten worse since Facebook took over, but in my experience, they’re marginally better on nudity in art. I assume either Facebook provided more money for screeners or instructed the screeners to attempt to comply with Facebook’s stated nudity-in-art policy. The policy is hardly worth the electrons it’s written on, but it’s better than nothing.
I can understand the problem here. With no nudity policing at all, your platform will rapidly devolve into a porn swamp like Tumblr. Once you go past a critical proportion of content like that, all the non-nudity-friendly users will flee, and you have a niche platform instead of a mass platform.
On the other hand, perhaps for cultural reasons you don’t want to try to enforce a no-nudity-at-all policy.
So Facebook/Instagram has created a “mostly no nudity” policy with special exceptions for art, breastfeeding, cancer survivors, and so on. But the existence of this grey area means that policing is up to three inconsistent entities: algorithms, user-flaggers, and screeners. Among them, responses to different imagery can be expected to vary.
The inconsistent flagging problem seems most acute for art photographers whose work involves the nude, who are on the far side of the policy line but only slightly, and highly representational figurative painters/drawers, who are on the near side of the policy line, but also only slightly. It is in this murky terrain that disagreement among the artists themselves, and the entities policing them, is most vigorous and frequent. This is entirely predictable. I am well-aware that a one-second glance at my drawing posted here could easily suggest it is a photograph. And I don’t expect the screeners for a gargantuan social media entity to have much more than a second to look at my work when it is flagged.
What I would like to see is a more transparent policy and a rigorous appeals process with access to actual human beings. Even better would be the availability of an application for a “protected artist status” which would blanket exempt accepted artists from flagging (obviously periodic review, and/or snap-review on the basis of sufficient attempted flags for a specific post, would be necessary). I realize that this would be more expensive for Facebook/Instagram but, guess what assholes, it’s your policy you haven’t provided the resources to execute properly.