Social media is waging a sexually charged war on fruits and veggies.
In July, Facebook and Instagram quietly updated the Facebook Community Standards language regarding permissible sexual expression on the social media platforms. (These guidelines cover Instagram, too.)
Under the new terms — which were officially enacted in September — pairing an eggplant or peach emoji with any expression of what Out.com deems “being horny” now qualifies as “Sexual Solicitation.” This can get a user’s account flagged or removed, adult industry news site XBIZ reports.
BBC journalist Thomas Fabbri was researching a piece on social media bans when he noticed the new language and notified XBIZ.
The Facebook Community Standards language is quite broad, not naming the emojis specifically but referring to “[commonly used] sexual emojis or emoji strings” as criteria which qualify as “Suggestive Elements.”
“[Content] will only be removed from Facebook and Instagram if it contains a sexual emoji alongside an implicit or indirect ask for nude imagery, sex or sexual partners, or sex chat conversations,” Instagram tells The Post.
“We aren’t taking action on simply the emojis.”
Nude photos where emojis cover genitalia, butts or female nipples are also now formally not allowed, as are any links or info leading to pornographic or otherwise adult material.
Porn stars feel explicitly targeted by the new standards.
Adult actress Kendra James tells XBIZ she was once banned from Instagram on the grounds of solicitation “after I told a man who DM’d me demanding free nude pics that this was my job and he could join my site.”
Still, that outlet points out, the new guidelines are so wide that they could even be applied to the scene in “Austin Powers” where Mike Myers asks, “Do I make you horny?”
The one clear exception to the near-blanket ban on sexual expression is using the platforms “to discuss and draw attention to sexual violence and exploitation.”
XBIZ reports that a Facebook company spokesperson “declined to answer any of our questions,” but offered this statement: “We often make updates to our Community Standards. We publish these changes on our Community Standards site so our community is aware.”