Instagram Has Deleted The Accounts Of Hundreds Of Pornstars And Sex Workers
Hundreds of pornstars and sex workers have had their Instagram accounts deleted.
Performers and campaigners are demanding they be treated the same as all other performers by bosses at the social media platform.
Alana Evans, president of the Adult Performers Actors Guild, is one of those fighting for the rights of women in the industry and says she has collected more than 1,300 names of people who have had their accounts removed - despite not showing any explicit content.
Speaking about her campaign, Ms Evans told the BBC: "I should be able to model my Instagram account on Sharon Stone or any other verified profile, but the reality is that doing that would get me deleted.
"They discriminate against us because they don't like what we do for a living."
The ongoing campaign led to a meeting with Instagram in June to create a new appeal system for people who have had their accounts reported and removed.
However, talks stalled and since then more and more accounts have been deleted.
Ms Evans said she was particularly upset when she found out that the account belonging to former pornstar, Jessica Jaymes, was removed following her death.
The profile, which had 900,000 followers, was later reinstated, but Ms Evans said it was awful to see.
She said: "When I saw that Jessica's account was deleted, my heart sunk. It was the last straw."
According to adult performers, the issue goes back a year to when either an individual or a group of people joined up to have accounts removed.
One of those mentioned goes by the name 'Omid' and regularly boasts about having been personally responsible for a number of actors' accounts being kicked off the site.
Performers have also claimed that their removal was often followed up by a series of abusive messages left by those claiming to have been involved.
Ginger Banks, an adult performer and sex workers' rights activist, was one of the first to be targeted by the mystery accounts.
She said: "When you put time and effort into building an account with over 300,000 followers and it gets deleted, that makes you feel defeated.
"Even if you're following the rules, you still have your account deleted. And that's the part that's frustrating."
Ms Banks went on to say that those carrying out this campaign against performers are having a damaging impact on their livelihoods.
She explained: "The people reporting us don't understand that people's incomes are affected, or they don't care. They think that we shouldn't be doing this job or it shouldn't exist."
Earlier this year, sex workers marched on Instagram's London headquarters to demand more transparency on the company's policies.
Amazing scenes outside @instagram HQ in London this afternoon. Sex workers demand a meeting with the company, clear policies and an end to blocking workers' accounts. pic.twitter.com/kFMBEDcZk5
- United Strippers Of The World (@unitedstripper) May 24, 2019
But it's not just performers and sex workers who have been affected by the spate of removals.
Speaking to the BBC, artist Rachel Rabbit White says her account was suspended after she posted photos from the The Revolutionary Art of Queer Sex Work exhibition at the Leslie-Lohman Museum in New York.
She said: "I posted these archival, very important historic images of lesbian erotica from an esteemed gallery. I was careful not to get any of the ones that had nipples or genital nudity. But a couple of hours later my account was gone."
Her account has since been reinstated.
Responding to questions about the campaign and why accounts were being removed, a spokesperson for Facebook - which owns Instagram - said: "With such a globally diverse community, we have to put rules in place around nudity and sexual solicitation to ensure content is appropriate for everyone, particularly young people.
"We will take action on content reported to us if it breaks these rules. We give people the opportunity to appeal the decision and will reinstate content if we mistakenly remove something."
Featured Image Credit: PA