Facebook and Instagram prohibit the use of emojis that “implicitly or indirectly” refer to sex. In addition, emojis can no longer be used to cover genitals on photos shared via social networks.
Among other things, emojis such as the eggplant, which is used to represent a penis, and a peach as a reference to the buttocks are no longer allowed according to the new Community Standards guidelines from Facebook.
Any “contextually specific and commonly used sexual emojis or sets of emojs” may no longer be used, just like sexual comments.
In addition, the emojis should also not be used to cover nudity: suggestive elements such as “images of real people with nudity covered by human body parts, objects or digital obstruction” are not allowed, says Facebook. This also includes “long shots of completely naked buttocks”.
Users are also no longer allowed to publish links to pornographic content.
With this approach, Facebook wants to prevent sexual services from being offered on its social networks. According to critics, the social media giant restricts sexual expression.
The new rules were silently updated sometime in July and introduced in the course of September and October, but were recently first noticed by XBiz, a news website about the sex industry. A BBC journalist tipped the news site when he came across the rules when investigating people who were banned from social networks.
“We draw a line when content facilitates, encourages or coordinates sexual contacts between adults,” writes Facebook in the guidelines. “We also limit sexually explicit language that may invite sexual contact, because some audiences within our global community may be sensitive to this type of content.”
Facebook “is not just going to intervene against the emoji,” a social network spokesperson told The Independent.
“Content will only be removed from Facebook and Instagram if it contains a sexual emoji in combination with an implicit in indirect demand for naked images, sex or sexual partners, or sex chat conversations.”