Slate Probes Social Media Discrimination Against Pleasure Product Companies

Slate Probes Social Media Discrimination Against Pleasure Product Companies

TEMPE, Ariz. — Slate published a report last week documenting discrimination against pleasure product companies by major social media platforms.

The report, penned by author Hallie Lieberman, is part of the Future Tense initiative partnering Slate, New America and Arizona State University to publish work that examines emerging technologies, public policy and society.

The article quoted a January report by the Center for Intimacy Justice “showing that Instagram and Facebook rejected ads for vibrators, along with breastfeeding and menopause products, while accepting ads for erectile dysfunction products.”

This double standard, Lieberman noted, “has riled sex-toy companies for years. Before Oct. 7, Meta’s policy established that ‘ads cannot promote the sale or use of adult products or services,’ but didn’t give many details, aside from generic examples of ad text that would be banned (‘buy our sex toys for your adult pleasure’). On Oct. 7, a few weeks before Meta’s stock tanked, partly due to a slowdown in ad spending, the language of Meta’s advertising policies got more specific. Now, Meta bars ads ‘that focus on sexual pleasure or enhancement, such as sex toys or sexual enhancement products.’ Currently allowed: ads for ‘erectile dysfunction products’ and products ‘for the prevention of premature ejaculation.’”

After a brief chronicle of the censorship-happy history of sex toy advertising in the U.S., Lieberman quoted Dame CEO and co-founder Alexandra Fine, who called Meta’s standards “sexist.”

“I have no idea how you can say you don’t support sexual pleasure, but you’re allowing erectile dysfunction medication and premature ejaculation products,” Fine told Slate. “This idea that male pleasure is necessary because ejaculation is necessary, but the female orgasm isn’t is — really problematic.”

Lieberman also interviewed Jackie Rotman, founder of the Center for Intimacy Justice; consultant Rachel Johnston; Polly Rodriguez, CEO and co-founder of the sexual-wellness company Unbound; Lioness CEO Liz Klinger; Hello Cake co-founder Mitch Orkis; and Crave co-founder Ti Chang, among others. All shared their experiences and frustrations with Meta’s discrimination against pleasure product companies.

Meta reps declined to reply to Slate’s questions.

To read “Social Media Companies Are Still Banning Ads for Sex Toys,” visit Slate.com.

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