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Social Media Censoring Sex Ed

Tweets and ads coming from sexual health campaigns are being taken off social media sites. But what rule is it they’re breaking?


Sometimes social media just can’t get it right. They do too much or not enough and we all know it’s not easy to please everybody.

So, who is it that isn't happy this week? Well, understandably, many sexual health organisations are getting aggravated as their posts are being deemed inappropriate for social media sites. Censorship is a touchy subject at the best of times and even more so when it comes in an awkward amalgamation of sex and education.

Recently, a Facebook ad for Bedsider, the birth control support network, was rejected because it wasn't in compliance with Facebook’s advertising guidelines for language. The email justified the censorship by claiming Bedsider's ad used “language that is profane, vulgar, threatening or generates high negative feedback.”
The article was called “Six Things You Should Know About Your Well-Woman visit” with a tagline “You’re so sexy when you’re well.” It’s nearly impossible for Bedsider to know what it did that was vulgar and profane with as vague response as this, but it’s not just Facebook that is censoring in this way.


Twitter’s terms permit the promotion of safe sex education; this covers non-prescription contraceptives only and any awareness campaigns involving STIs or HIV. However, it does not allow sexual content of any kind, even if it’s being linked to the aforementioned “acceptable” topics. Twitter’s making it a bit hard to make a decent point here. It’s fair enough that sexual products and services aren't allowed on these sites, but no sexual content, even in relation to sexual health?

It seems a bit restricting, if you ask me.

Twitter has stated that sex is not allowed to be depicted in a “recreational/positive light” but in a “neutral and dry” way. It makes complete and utter sense that health organisations are trying to reach out to young people via their social media accounts and with sex education being compulsory in schools from age 11 onwards, it’s pretty likely that most kids will know what S. E. X. is.

These campaigns will never be encouraging sexual promiscuity in 11 year olds it just wants to warn them and teach them to take the right precautions. So why so strict, social media?

Susan Gilbert, co-director of The National Coalition for Sexual Health says, “Sexual images and content are literally everywhere, from suggestive advertisements and erotic romance novels to provocative TV series to sex-tip columns in magazines and on the Internet. Yet we have limited access to positive, credible sexual-health information and open dialogue that can help keep us healthy.

I know it is important to have rules, but if sites like Twitter are automatically isolating and punishing people just because something they've said ticks a box, then perhaps there should be more moderation somewhere? Who makes these decisions about what is worth acting on and what isn't? Playboy can have their own Twitter account and Kim Kardashian can show her butt to the world, but safe sex has to be boring sex? Are we for real?


Children are not an excuse here either. Monitor them or don’t let them have a Twitter account if you’re worried, because there is a lot worse out there than condoms. On top of that, 89 percent of teens said that using the internet is the main way they learn about sexual health issues.

There are different religions, parenting techniques and cultures that will affect how controversial subjects are viewed but we need to accept that the internet is full of debatable and terrible things: Preventing teenage and unplanned pregnancy, is not one of them.

Megan Herdson
Megan is a country girl who moved to the city with some big dreams. She is studying her MA in Creative Writing whilst also managing an American Football Team.  She loves her blog and wants nothing more than to have her words read. That and to win the Championship, obviously. Follow her @MeganAtSMF
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Social Media Censoring Sex Ed Reviewed by Unknown on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 Rating: 5
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