Pinterest is rubbing up against the limits of its own overmodest acceptable usage policy. The social site that lets people share images of things they really dig has told the FT it plans to allow more nude images to be pinned by users — following complaints from artists and photographers about its current nudes ban.
However the company told the FT yesterday that it is planning to loosen its top button when it comes to arty nudes. “Pinterest is about expressing your passions and people are passionate about art and that may include nudes. So we’re going to try to accommodate that,” it told the newspaper.
More to the point, it may not have much choice. Search for art nudes on Pinterest and there’s no shortage of artistic nude — and frankly just scantily clad — content already being pinned. So the site may well simply be responding to what its users are already doing.
Policing user generated content is always a huge challenge — and one which Facebook has recently found itself falling foul of as a result of gender-based hatred posts. That social network was targeted by an anti-sexism campaigning organisation for failing to remove violently misogynistic posts that incite rape and sexual hatred.
The campaigning organisation, the Everyday Sexism Project, targeted Facebook advertisers whose ads were appearing next to the offensive posts, urging them to pull their ads until the content was removed. Various advertisers did so, and earlier this week Facebook’s Safety team posted an update saying it intends to review and update its guidelines for identifying and removing gender-based hate speech. So, while user generated content may be a low cost way to power your business, it can also clearly cause serious damage if it’s not managed correctly.
Returning to Pinterest, the site’s focus on imagery makes it a natural home for people with an interest in art — and that makes its current acceptable usage policy a bit too inflexible. There’s no editing out the human form from art history, so liberating acceptable usage by allowing some nudity makes a lot of sense. The challenge will be for Pinterest to keep things clean enough that it doesn’t put off swathes of its less arty, more home-makery focused users — who want to see pins of cupcakes, not, y’know, cupcake.
We’ve reached out to Pinterest to ask how specifically it plans to amend and police a new, more nude-friendly policy — without opening the floodgates to more hardcore adult material — and will update this story with any response.
The porn issue also rears its head on Tumblr, of course — but did not prevent Yahoo! from spending $1.1 billion to acquire all that UGC, even the NSFW bits of it.