#Arts & Entertainment
Instagram, Facebook
United States of America

I am beginning this petition to raise awareness of how Instagram’s current flagging & censorship policies undermines freedom of expression and empowers internet trolls to anonymously get hardworking artist’s work removed from their accounts! I have had numerous photos and videos reported anonymously and therefore removed. All of these photos & videos followed the community guidelines, yet Instagram’s current policy allows for them to be removed without consideration to the content creators or the actual content itself. This is not only an injustice, it is prohibiting my human right, my right as a woman, to be able to express myself freely, and artistically. This is my language, and therefore this directly violates my freedom of speech! I want Instagram to review its current policy and to put the power in the hands of the creators to create, not in the haters to hate.

I am sure Instagram values the medium it has created, so it should work hand in hand with it’s hard working content creators to limit the ability of internet trolls who create accounts to simply obstruct other individual’s right of expression. It is my hope that by beginning this petition, we can have a public discussion between Instagram, it’s hardworking diverse content creators, and the Instagram users who follow our work, in order to craft a more creator empowering policy than the one that currently limits our ability to express ourselves.

I am foremost a performance artist, freelance content creator, and women’s right activist. Social media is really my main platform of showcasing my art and advocacy for women’s right, and human rights. With the popularity and increase of influence of Instagram as a social media platform, there has also been an increase in the hierarchy of power as well. Although I think that Instagram’s guidelines can be restrictive, I have still respected it nonetheless and have followed them when showing my work. All of my content is tasteful art and it addresses such topics as freedom of expression and women’s empowerment.

As a performance artist, I use my body as my instrument. It in itself is my expressive medium. My body is my body. It becomes a sexual object only when I allow it to be, but 90% of my representation is about freedom of expression and women’s rights, and it is not entirely a sexuality related theme. Therefore Instagram’s current reporting system starts to become a tool of personal attack for any anonymous internet troll with an Instagram account who wants to use their pastime to target me, attack me, and prosecute me for being a person; for being an artist; or for being a woman. Again I shouldn’t be prosecuted based on my being, more my content. Especially in our current political environment, social media platforms who stand strongly supporting democratic values should make sure their policies reflect these values and don’t inhibit them.

My content, yet again is about freedom of expression and women’s empowerment. However my content has been relentlessly reported and taken down without any further notice, or the courtesy of an open hearing or debate as to the validity of the anonymous individual’s flagging my content. It is like 1984’s Thought Police can suddenly self-appoint themselves as censors within the Instagram platform and initiate their own kind of DICTATORSHIP. A DICTATORSHIP that limits the expression of the majority of the platform’s users. The way my intention can be twisted based on someone’s else’s personal grudge or restrictive moral leanings is wrong. Instagram’s current policies creates an environment where this can occur, and thereby allowing for my right to protest or debate taken away; this is indeed DICTATORSHIP.

I don’t see this current reporting system and policy of censorship as FAIR or JUST. Furthermore I see this as destruction to the basic democratic ideals of freedom of speech, human rights, and equal rights of expression. I see it becoming a continuous cycle that enables internet bullies to silence others without any basis or evidence in support of their claims. This is absolutely an obstruction to one’s right of freedom speech, expression and it directly contradicts democratic ideals. Because of this, I demand the following considerations for a new Instagram policy as it relates to their content posting and reporting guidelines:

1. Open hearing and debate when content is reported. Content shouldn’t immediately be removed, but reviewed by a fair arbitrator.
2. Open hearing transparency - so a hardworking content creator is assumed innocent before guilty and punished.
3. Those who report/flag/hate should be not be allowed to remain anonymous and should be made to stand by their claim. A system should be put in place to limit the ability of internet trolls to continue to flag whatever they don’t like.

I ask fellow artists, content creators, those who appreciate the art we create, and the management of Instagram to sign and support this initiative so that we together, can improve the platform, and improve the ability of artists to express themselves. Let’s create, not destroy.without any further notice of open hearing and debate. This is a DICTATORSHIP. The way my intention can be twisted easily and then have my rights to protest and debate taken away; this is indeed DICTATORSHIP.

I don’t see this censorship and system as JUSTICE AND FAIR. Furthermore I see this as destruction to freedom of speech, human rights, equal right of expression and I see it becoming a continuous cycle to enable internet bully with no basis of evidence to support its legitimacy. This is absolutely an obstruction to right of freedom speech and it contradicts to the law of democracy. I demand an open hearing and debate when a content is reported. And I demand the open hearing transparency so we give the rights back to the civil. Those who report/flag/hate should be made to appear in court and support their judgement/ opinion, or else it’s SLANDER. It shouldn’t be taken lightly.

The Empower Instagram Artists & Disarm the Instagram Trolls petition to Instagram, Facebook was written by Cacia Zoo and is in the category Arts & Entertainment at GoPetition.