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Erotic Art on Tumblr: Why Do Artists Choose Tumblr Over Facebook or Instagram?

We live in a world where erotic art – whether it be nude art featuring a model, sculptures or even photos – are getting taken down across social media platforms. It’s an interesting time because we now live in an interconnected world where art can be seen across all mediums. But we still live in a society that shuns the human body and erotica.

Click on the image and see the full version by J. Tange. Available for sale.
Enjoying erotic artwork by J. Tange. Artwork available click on the image to see the full version.
We have seen suggestive photographs taken down on Facebook, and these photos did not contain nudity. You see, the readers of blogs and advertisers dictate what policies these companies make.
Facebook makes their money off of advertisers, and if advertisers don’t want them to show erotic art, it will be flagged and taken down. Platform users can also flag content, causing major issues for content creators.
Tumblr has been a platform where erotic art, nude art, arte erotico and even gay art can flourish.
But Erotic art on Tumblr has changed.
There was a time when models would post all of their nude photographs on Tumblr because it wasn’t against the platform’s terms of service. This changed late last year when the company banned the following types of content that contains real-life genitals or nipples:
  • Images
  • Videos
  • GIFs
Photorealistic content that could be “confused” for real-life nudity was also banned. Sex act content is no longer prohibited, but the company claims that some types of the following content is allowed:
  • Artistic nudes
  • Educational nudes
  • Political content
  • Newsworthy content
So, in art terms, you can open up an erotic art Tumblr and start posting photos of artworks that contain nudity.
The platform’s policies are clearly outlined, and you should be able to keep your content up on the site without much of an issue.

Facebook and Instagram Take a Different Stance

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First and foremost, you must remember that Facebook and Instagram have the same stance against nudity. These platforms are very strict when it comes to erotic content, but it goes even deeper than that.
You see, the two platforms are both owned by Facebook.
A lot of people don’t realize that the same company owns the two major social media networks. If Facebook puts a ban on nudity, you can be 99% certain that Instagram will, too. The companies are closely woven together, and you’ll see that they’re not entirely run as separate entities.
Instagram’s earnings are within Facebook’s earnings, and the two use the same data centers.
With that said, there’s a clear reasoning for not having any nude art on these platforms: it’s against the terms of service.
Censorship is very common on these platforms, and it’s not uncommon for the content to be flagged and taken down. A painting by Gustave Courbet, painted in 1866 and titled “L’Origine de monde,” was removed from a post in 2011.
The person that posted the content also had his account banned. 
The account owner went to the courts to try and have his account reactivated. He was also seeking $22,500 in damages because he claims that the ban violated his freedom of expression. 
When the case went to court, Facebook claims that it would allow women breastfeeding or showing scars from a post-mastectomy. What the company will not allow is:
  • Fully exposed buttocks
  • Displaying of genitals
  • Female nipples
But the company claims that they do allow the depiction of nude figures in art form, including paintings and sculptures.
If you look up the painting in question, it’s a very detailed painting that looked like a real-life picture. An artist would be able to tell the difference, but Facebook’s executives could not tell the difference.
Users can flag a picture for nudity, and chances are that Facebook will remove the image and may even ban the user. It happens a lot, and the same thing happens on Instagram. You can see women in thongs, but once the crack of the buttocks is exposed, the picture is removed.

It’s all a matter of opinion.

Tumblr has settings to warn you of nude or adult content, and they allow the user to choose if they want to see content. Facebook and Instagram are too willing to bend to the demands of advertisers and remove content.
Facebook and Instagram users are not “adults” in the eyes of the company.  
And it’s quite silly.  
Freedom of expression has died on these platforms, but there has been some hope that anti-censorship will begin to fade. A protest occurred outside of the company’s headquarters where 125 people stripped completely naked to protest against the censorship of artistic nudity.
Erotic Art with a twist of fun Lautrec fond of role play.
The company claims that they will be reviewing their terms after the protest.
It wasn’t until last year that their policies were updated to allow nude sculptures and paintings. Fine art photography nudes of any kind are still 100% against the company’s terms. The NCAC is working with Facebook and Instagram in an effort to help develop policies that allow for the serving of diverse communities on Facebook.

A Community That Has Been Trained to Be Offended

Nude Art Tumblr for sale acrylic on board by award winning Dutch artist
Tumblr’s ban on nudity caused a majority of their users to leave the site. But the company has still maintained a large fan base that is interested in nude art of all mediums. The community understands that Tumblr is not a platform for the prude.
You can confirm that you’re an adult and be able to see adult content.
Facebook and Instagram users have been conditioned to be offended by content. The users of these social media sites are offended easily, and if a nipple or full buttocks ends up on  their walls, you can be sure that people will report the image.
The community is already used to operating in a certain way.
People are less accepting of nudity in art when it has not been allowed to flourish on the platform. The moment that you start seeing mass nudity, even a painting or picture on the site, you’ll see a few things happening:
  • Reports that Facebook and Instagram allow nudity or smut
  • Users complaining and leaving the site
  • Advertisers leaving a site that was once “family-friendly”
But it would not be difficult for either site to incorporate features that would flag this content. Users already have to confirm their age, and it’s possible that these platforms can use this information to allow nudity in some form.
Users may even need to opt in to see the nude art, but it would be a means of keeping advertisements away from any form of nudity based on the advertiser’s preference.
In either case, it’s often the users that dictate what platforms allow, but it is the choice of Facebook to take measures to the extreme. The company banned an art historian for posting a nude painting.
Censoring or putting a warning on the painting’s picture would have  sufficed, but banning the teacher’s account is almost an abuse of power.
Tumblr is the one platform that has allowed nude art to flourish, and we think it’s very important that the world is able to see many of these pieces. From sculptures to paintings and drawings, nudity may be taboo, but the way that Facebook and Instagram censor these works of art is appalling.
Art is subjective and always will be, so it’s almost Draconian to have such strict censorship measures in place.
Couple Erotic Art displaying a solo performance.

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