FOSTA Kills Ads for Dan Savage's Hump! Amateur Adult Fest

FOSTA Kills Ads for Dan Savage's Hump! Amateur Adult Fest

CYBERSPACE — Targeted online advertising by the Hump! Film Festival has been kneecapped by FOSTA/SESTA, according to festival founder Dan Savage.

Savage, a noted sexpert and activist, founded the festival as a platform for self-expression. But the after-effects of the passage of FOSTA/SESTA have left festival organizers unable to advertise their event on Facebook and Instagram.

“Hump is in its 14th year, and has only gone from strength to strength, celebrating sex-positivity for all bodies, gender expressions and identities,” writes tech blog BoingBoing.

“However, Hump is largely dependent on targeted Facebook ads for ticket sales, and thanks to Facebook's overreaction to the admittedly terrible SESTA/FOSTA law passed by the U.S. Congress in 2018, it will not accept ads for the festival any longer, despite the fact that the ads themselves are G-rated and are only targeted at adults.”

Savage used last week's episode of his “Savage Lovecast” podcast to lay out the problem in greater detail.

“So there’s porn on the internet. Even in our post-FOSTA/SESTA dystopia, you can find porn on the internet,” he said “A quick refresher: FOSTA/SESTA was signed into law last year and imposes fines and prison time on owners and managers of tech companies whose platforms are, whether the owners know it or not, being used by sex workers. The law is so broadly worded that it not only made it impossible for sex workers to share information online about safety, to find clients and, crucially, to warn each other about dangerous clients, it prompted major tech companies to start censoring sexual content, just to be on the safe side — to protect themselves, not to protect sex workers.”

FOSTA/SESTA is so “broadly and vaguely worded” that “tech companies immediately began pulling out all sorts of sexual content. It’s why we don’t have Craigslist personals anymore; it’s why Tumblr banned adult content. It’s also why sex work is now more dangerous than it was a year ago.”

Savage notes that “Facebook no longer allows ads for, quote-unquote, adult content. You can still buy ads on Facebook for family planning and contraception, but those ads must focus on, and I quote, ‘the contraceptive features of the product and not on sexual pleasure.’ Facebook didn’t have to do that to be in compliance with FOSTA/SESTA. And as a result of the ban on adult content, we can no longer advertise on Facebook and Instagram, which Facebook also owns. And this is bullshit.”

He describes Hump! as featuring “short films made by amateurs. You know how a lot of people say they dislike porn because it’s dehumanizing? Not the porn at Hump! The porn you see at Hump! is very deeply humanizing porn. Hump! films are made by friends and lovers and the films range from comedic shorts to animation to erotica to softcore to hardcore.”

However, the festival’s Facebook business account was “shuttered” and the event is “no longer allowed to advertise or promote or let people know about Hump! on Facebook or Instagram,” Savage said. “Hate, violence, murder — all of that has a home on Facebook. But human beings, friends and lovers, expressing their affection for each other, enjoying themselves with their genitals out sometimes, no, we cannot have that! And that’s not what we were putting on Facebook! We weren’t putting Hump! films on Facebook; we were just advertising screenings of the Hump! film festival on Facebook. So, while there’s porn all over the internet, we can’t advertise our screenings in movie theatres — Hump! films are never released online — because, I don’t know why exactly.”

The ban not only makes it more difficult for audiences to discover the festival. “It makes it harder… for people to create and experience a different kind of porn, but also harder for people to realize that, yeah, under that thin veneer of difference, we are all the same-ish," he said.

“It seems incredibly hypocritical to me to ban advertising for a thing as good and fun and, for some people, healing as Hump! because you want to keep information about this particular kind of porn (and) ads about that kind of porn off Facebook and off Instagram, which, for now, means off the internet.”

Savage urged listeners to follow Hump! on their social media channels and to subscribe to the festival’s official newsletter to stay up-to-date. “We can’t advertise on Facebook and Instagram, but we are stuck with Facebook and Instagram right now. And we’re relying on you to help us bring Hump! to new audiences by sharing on your social media platforms,” he said.

Visit Hump! online here and follow its Twitter here. Find Savage on Twitter here.

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