Cue the outrage because it’s happened again! The Warwick Rowers say Instagram is once again censoring content on their page.
In a strongly-worded statement released this week, the rowers say they’ve had over a dozen images deleted from their account for violating guidelines on pornography or nudity despite the images being prescreened to ensure they comply with social media guidelines.
Most of the offending images were from their upcoming 2019 calendar, the proceeds of which benefit Sports Allies, a charity that aims to promote gender and LGBTQ inclusivity in sports.
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The cover of our #WR19 and 10th anniversary calendar. This is a huge landmark for us and we are so grateful for everyone who has supported us so far and keeps on supporting us in our campaign against heteronormativity and gender norms. We are halfway through our crowdfunding campaign and all our #WR19 products are already available to pre-order at discounted price. So if you want to be part of the story, make sure you have a look at our website (link in bio). Make sure to tag your friends if they haven’t heard yet about what we do!
But it’s the deletion of one post in particular that has the rowers especially angry. It was a message about Human Rights Day shared earlier this month that read:
People sometimes ask why we need the Warwick Rowers project. Here’s one answer. It’s because society is not fair about how it meets the respective needs of straight men, women and LGBT communities. We are all human and we all deserve the same rights.
Yet we live in the world focused around heterosexual desire. The Warwick Rowers is about straight men acknowledging and celebrating the rights of women, queer people, and anyone else who want to look at them. And if they do look at them, these guys have a message: you are looking at a friend.
This isn’t the first time the rowers have run into issues with Instagram.
In June, their account was disabled for 24 hours on accident. Instagram later issued an apology, saying, “This account was removed in error. We have since reactivated @Warwick_rowers and we apologize for any inconvenience caused.”
No word yet from the social media site on this latest round of censorship, which Angus Malcolm, the long-time producer of the Warwick Rowers project, calls “a threat to democratic expression” that “unfairly groups” them with adult content.
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Sorry we have been quiet over the past few days. We were supposed to launch our 2019 calendar on November 1st but due to IT issues, we’re yet to launch. It should happen within this week, so stay tuned! If you haven’t looked at our crowdfunder yet, well you literally have a few hours and then it will be gone! #WR19 #WarwickRowers #10thanniversary
Malcolm is now demanding Instagram be more transparent about its filtering process.
“At the very least, we believe that consumers are entitled to understand the rules of engagement for social platforms,” he says, “so that they can make informed choices about what and where to post, and informed decisions about how to interpret the information they receive.”