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[Photo via Unsplash/Saulo Mohana]

Instagram and its parent company Facebook are under fire from queer and feminist brands who say the platforms refuse to run their ads on users’ feeds. 

Feminist newsletter Salty revealed recently that it tried to run ads on Instagram of its latest cover, but was denied. Salty also runs a website with a focus on sex and dating content. 

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The denial came with a message saying that the platform doesn’t “allow ads for escort services”. However the newsletter is not an escort service. The images used in the ads showed fully-clothes queer and trans people of color.

Salty posted on Instagram about the ordeal and explained why they were so outraged by the denial. 

Unlike other big brands and media outlets, Salty is unable to advertise on @Instagram or @Facebook because the algorithms assume that Salty is ‘promoting escort services,’” the post began. “Swipe thru for examples of our content that has been rejected for promotion on this platform. People, this is a FOSTA/SESTA in action. There are biases and assumptions built into the algorithms that are designed to silence us.” 

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“It is no coincidence that these images include incredible, empowered POCs, non binary, disabled and plus sized bodies – and are the most highly regulated. Digital products that are designed to empower women, trans and non binary people (like our newsletter) are discriminated against in marketing and advertising policies online, in the software that we use and in the real world too (see #derailsexism). Bringing this to your attention because SALTY NEEDS YOU to support and amplify the voices and perspectives on this platform,” it continued. 

You can see the post with the images in question below. 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Unlike other big brands and media outlets, Salty is unable to advertise on @Instagram or @Facebook because the algorithms assume that Salty is “promoting escort services”. Swipe thru for examples of our content that has been rejected for promotion on this platform. People, this is a FOSTA/SESTA in action. There are biases and assumptions built into the algorithms that are designed to silence us. It is no coincidence that these images include incredible, empowered POCs, non binary, disabled and plus sized bodies – and are the most highly regulated. Digital products that are designed to empower women, trans and non binary people (like our newsletter) are discriminated against in marketing and advertising policies online, in the software that we use and in the real world too (see #derailsexism).

Bringing this to your attention because SALTY NEEDS YOU to support and amplify the voices and perspectives on this platform. 💚🧐 How to help? Subscribe to get all our fabooosh content in your inbox, and not on here! Share your favorite Salty stories. Set up a monthly donation! Share this post! ✅ Remember: the patriarchy is in the algorithms. #fosta #sesta #feminism #translivesmatter #sexworkiswork #salty

A post shared by Salty (@salty.world) on

This most recent event also appears to be far from an isolated incident. Another example is non-binary streetwear brand Morgasm. The company owners have said they are unable to run ads due to the name of the brand. This is because the social media sites consider it to be profanity. Morgasm has also been blocked from selling products directly on their Instagram page. 

MTV News confirmed that several LGBTQ and women-owned brands that promote sex positivity tried to run ads on the platforms and were also denied. 

Other companies told MTV they were blocked from ads that stated the word “queer,” with Instagram citing “inappropriate language.” 

A Facebook spokesperson told MTV they have the polices to “help foster a positive, inclusive and safe environment.” 

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“We recognize that at times we make mistakes when reviewing ads but we are committed to making things right – it is never our intention to silence marginalized voices,” the spokesperson said. “We will continue to investigate these cases to improve how we enforce our ad policies.”

The company did not respond to where or not they have a list of the words that are unacceptable. They also didn’t comment on if words like “orgasm” or “queer” are included on said list. 

You can read MTV’s full report, with several other examples of people being unable to post ads, here

What do you think of Instagram allegedly blocking ads from LGBTQ and women-owned brands? Sound off in the comments down below!

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