Meta and the Crackdown on Sexual Content

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you may have seen the mass cull Meta undertook on sexual wellness and pleasure-focused accounts across Facebook and Instagram earlier this year. From dominatrixes, pleasure activists, and sexual wellness educators to Pornhub and other huge sex-focused brands, no one was safe from their crackdown on adult content across Metas sites. 

For many, this has caused an outcry on free speech and arguments that it discriminates significantly towards denying a platform to trans and non-binary creators promoting their content and female-centric pleasure brands and educators. It also raised questions surrounding Meta’s content and advertising rules and policies. Just a year previously, content creators rejoiced as they updated their policy to say that sexual education content could be included on Instagram. 

So what does Metas crack down on sexual content mean for the adult industry? In this article, Adult Site Broker looks to answer this question. 

Meta’s current policy on sexual content 

Currently, Meta has a strict policy on sexual content, and it is not allowed on the platform. Any content that depicts or promotes sexual activity, nudity, or sexual solicitation is strictly prohibited.

This policy is supposedly in place to ensure that Meta remains a safe and welcoming platform for all users, including minors and vulnerable individuals. 

Meta has a team of content moderators who monitor the platform to ensure that all content adheres to the community standards. If you come across any sexual content on the platform, you can report it to the moderators for review and removal.

However, in 2022 Meta opened up their policy to allow for sexual education content to be allowed on their platforms. Stating that “advertisers can run ads that promote sexual health, wellness, and reproductive products and services.” This allowed for activists, educators, brands and creators to post images relating to vulas and penises so long as it met their content policy. 

While originally the new policy was something to rejoice, it has since been criticized for not being true, with brands, educators and content creators alike finding their content still being unfairly taken down and being denied the right to run ads. 

Meta’s 2023 Crackdown on sexual wellness accounts 

Although Meta has previously stated that it supports the sexual wellness industry and recognizes its importance in promoting health and well-being, the new 2022 policy has been criticized to be a sham. 

Earlier in the summer, many accounts that post about sexual wellness, pleasure and talk about female pleasure found their accounts suddenly suspended. After 6 weeks these crackdowns were reversed, but thousands still lost their accounts that they had built a dedicated fanbase with. 

Many argue that those unjustly affected were LGBTQIA+ creators, sexual educators and those focused on female pleasure, whereas many creators that focus on male pleasure were left relatively unscathed. 

It left many confused, as their content was SFW with no depictions on vulvas, penises, sex or nipples and had many arguing that their moderators were suspending accounts based upon the use of certain hashtags and captions. 

This has led to the Centre for Intimacy Justice filing a formal complaint to the FTC against Meta. Stating that this routine denial of female health providers the ability to advertise unlike their male health counterparts was discriminatory and violates their own policies. This complaint was filed 18 months after they had published their report on what it saw as Facebook’s “censorship of health ads for women and people of diverse genders.” They found that out of 60 different brands mentioned in the report, every one had had their ad’s denied at some point by Facebook. 

How does this impact adult industry sites? 

The impact of these crackdowns on the adult services, female health and sexual wellness and pleasure brands has led to many trying to decide if they wish to remain on social media. 

For many smaller brands who don’t have a budget, social media has played a vital role in creating brand awareness and driving sales. By having their social media channels shut down they are finding that their sales are being affected. 

But it’s not just small brands who have been affected, big brands like Pornhub have also had their accounts suspended no matter how SFW their accounts are. Influencers and OnlyFans models, who rely on social media to drive traffic to their OnlyFans pages have also had to look for new ways to promote themselves, Turning to Twitter (now X), Telegram and Reddit to help promote themselves. 

It has also impacted many social media managers of these brands, as they struggle to create captions and use hashtags that don’t immediately flag Metas moderators. 

Can the adult industry advertise on Meta? 

The short answer is: Maybe. 

The long answer is more complex than this. Although Meta opened up their advertising policies to allow for sexual wellness and educational content, many have reported still having the content and ads flagged as inappropriate. While many have found that they can operate as normal.. 

Many big brands like Ann Summers or LoveHoney have been able to run ads promoting the sale of their products. However many smaller brands, educators, and female health services have reported to having their ads rejected and their content still heavily moderated. This has led to complaints to the FTC and criticism that their new policies are just smoke and mirrors. 

With posts about endometriosis, STDs and vulvas being taken down and posts about penises being allowed, many have argued that the moderators heavily favor male focused posts about sex and sexual health. 

What is the future of advertising in the Adult Industry? 

With the advertising tactics being done by companies like Womanizer and Love Not War, two campaigns on showers and sex, the adult industry may see a return to the old-school marketing and advertising tactics instead of relying on social media. 

From looking for PR opportunities to word of mouth and using blogs, newsletters, and a greater focus on influencer marketing, many brands in the adult industry are taking the pressure off themselves to focus on their socials and generating sales by targeting influencers that can promote them across social media. There has also been increased activity on SEO and search engine marketing, and display advertising on adult websites. 

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