Big Tech’s Morality Police Are Going After Adult Content

“We got no warning, no violation warning or anything like that. It just was gone the next day.”

An online decency campaign has discreetly swept the internet over the past two years: Tumblr dropped porn, Reddit removed certain threads, and Facebook effectively banned sexually suggestive content, including some emojis. Hundreds of adult performers and erotica artists have also been targeted by the online morality police — and suddenly lost their lucrative accounts.  

Artist, model and photographer Kate “Kato” Lambert said she got absolutely no warning before Instagram took down her popular Instagram account featuring a wide range of steampunk-infused erotica. It was just hours after she’d posted a photo that showed a scantily clad woman. “We got no warning, no violation warning or anything like that. It just was gone the next day.” Lambert also says she’s lost around $80,000 in revenue as a result of her account being removed for two months.

While there are few records of how many accounts have been removed in total, the Adult Performers Actors Guild estimates that nearly 1500 accounts have been deleted in this wake, but that only includes those in the adult industries, not in other industries or the general public. 

Since many artists and adult performers generate income from their social accounts, the demand to find a solution to this issue has created a new business venture for those with connections to be able to get users their accounts back. One company that spoke to VICE News on condition of anonymity leverages its insider status at Instagram to expedite account recovery through an exclusive portal reserved for top-tier Instagram users, like celebrities, to get users back online. 

The owner of the company told us, “The more I heard about from the people that were within the industry, that they were being treated worse than it seems like most other people were. My sense of fairness kind of kicked in, where I grew up playing sports and always believed that if you start a game, you know what the rules are when you start. And if you play by the rules, somebody else can't just change them in the middle of the game.”

Cover: Photographer Kate “Kato” Lambert (foreground) during a photoshoot with two models.