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How Pinterest reminds us that the web is for adults

Pinterest and porn

(AGBeat) – Recently, we reported that as Pinterest grows, the chance of young men discovering Pinterest grows as well, and with young men visually bookmarking their interests, the site will easily be populated by potentially offensive material.

Tech bloggers are tossing up polls about whether nudity in art or otherwise is offensive, and while Pinterest is like any other community with rules (namely that they “do not allow nudity or hateful content” on the site), they are being called to prepare themselves to censor unsavory content that violates their rules (although all pins are already subject to the site’s Terms of Service and when flagged, Pinterest staff manually reviews it and either removes or allows each instance). There is alarm and hints that the site should offer stronger censorship which is ironic given these are the same tech bloggers that write endlessly about SOPA and ACTA.

The internet is a strip club

Pinterest is currently populated by mostly creatives, many of whom are artists or art enthusiasts and the bottom line is that nudity is a part of art. Additionally, the site does not force anyone to follow or view any content that is obscene – people with sensitivities should stick to viewing pins from people they know/trust/follow while avoiding a potentially offensive space, just as people with sensitivities should stick to not walking into a strip club and acting upset that nudity exists.

In this scenario, however, the strip club is not Pinterest, it is the entire web, which simply serves as a reminder that the web truly is for adults. Sure, anyone over the age of 13 can use Pinterest, and any toddler using mommy’s iPad can use the web, but it is wasted effort to run a poll about whether nudity has been witnessed on Pinterest, or to write about nudity online.

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There is no such thing as a “no children allowed” button for the web, but the upset surrounding nudity on Pinterest is silly and a waste of effort, just as getting upset that porn exists online or that someone cussed on Twitter is wasted effort. While Pinterest has their rules that they request users to live by and they enforce the no nudity rules, it is a community that is based on sharing visual bookmarks of whatever interests the user, so if sideboob interests the user and someone doesn’t like that, they should unfollow them and keep their eyes on pins from people they follow that they trust not to offend them… stay out of the “Everything” category of Pinterest, or stay out of the internet overall for that matter, and everyone will be okay.

Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. David Pylyp

    February 20, 2012 at 12:36 am

    Do you think there is a board on Pinterest that could be used as a referral WHO is available in What City State Province Bio that I can quickly scan.

    Is it Scan or Scorn that will be received?
    Your judgement is required.

    David Pylyp
    Living in Toronto and waiting for you

  2. Tinu

    February 20, 2012 at 1:24 am

    There's for real a poll about whether art is obscene? Because it contains nudity? I may have to unsubscribe from the web for a while. I abhor pettiness. I'd move to France but I just love this freaking country so much.

    • Lani Rosales

      February 20, 2012 at 10:48 am

      Even if we lived in France, we'd still read American sites, we can't help it 🙂

  3. Allen Mireles

    February 20, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Lani, I celebrate your choice of topic here and your extension of the concern about nudity on Pinterest to the reality of the entire web and the reminder that the web is for adults. I'm glad you have chosen to remind readers that no one is forced to follow anyone on Pinterest (or on the web for that matter) and that there are easy ways to limit one's exposure to anything one considers offensive. Duh.

    Last week (was it only last week?) we got up in arms about a popular social media consultant who spammed Pinterest with a series of branded posters with inane quotes. While I saw the same thing others saw and was both amused and dismayed at the pinning of 24 posters that all looked the same and included quotes that seemed unimportant (and yes, I felt like it was spam) I simply unfollowed that person and several others and went to gazing longingly at beautiful interiors that in no way resemble my home's. Point being, there was an easy fix. I have no interest in being wooed by social media gurus while I am on Pinterest. I like to look at the images that resonate and I can create my ideal Pinterest experience fairly easily. I have other friends and colleagues on Pinterest who pin images of sideboobage or sexy young things in scant outfits and I blow right by those because they don't interest me. If it gets to a point of being offensive, I unfollow, so that I can focus on the images that make me salivate: beautiful, pristine interiors devoid of a single pet hair.

    For better or worse, the web and now Pinterest, are a reflection of our humanity. The good, the bad and the ugly. (And, those things differ depending on who you ask.) We must use our intelligence and our discernment when using these tools–as we do in other aspects of daily living in today's world.

    • Lani Rosales

      February 20, 2012 at 12:36 pm

      Perfectly stated, Allen – "simple fix" is the concept I was addressing… not sure why this is overly complicated for some people.

  4. novalinnhe

    December 20, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Hmmm… I’m reading up a lot about this, because I’ve just seen a man’s board on Pinterest that completely freaked me out. I reported him instantly. I pre-empt a few rolling eyeballs at this point, but it IS within Pinterest’s Terms of Use – so although my opinion is going to be unpopular within the context of this article, I was definitely within my right to do so.
     
    However, I never really realised that there are a community of people out there who actually enjoy images like this… without being a raging pervert/paedophile. It’s been quite curious hearing other people’s opinions on it. I’ve been Googling for about an hour now, slowly forming my opinion, and quite enjoying how eloquent a lot of the people writing these articles are.
     
    Now that I’ve studied the subject a little more, I’ve decided I’m sort of “in the middle” on it (although I don’t think I’ll ever be able to change the fact that I am very squeamish around nudity). What I’ve concluded is that, however much it does offend people, the internet is a free platform and so people shouldn’t be restricted from posting images like this – even if it offends other parties.
     
    However, I do believe that on sites which are so “easily accessible”, or run on visual media, systems like DeviantArt’s NSFW screen should be employed. It’s perfect – just slap it over anything 12+, and not only does it help out all those worried parents/religious people/those who genuinely find genetalia disturbing, but it allows images like this to be shared more freely. And so both parties win, I think. 🙂
     
    I’m a little scared about the backlash I am going to receive from fans of this guy’s Pinterest board – particularly as a lot of them seem to be quite eloquent. However, now that I can approach the situation from a broader “stance” than the scared little girl who doesn’t want to see another naked person ever again, I hope I can deal with what is coming. The internet really isn’t a very nice place for sensitive folk!
     
    However, as I’ve been reading, I’ve been thinking outside the subject a little more. If one allows sexual images like this to be posted more openly and freely (as yes, free speech is important)… what about pro-racists? Where do they go? Do they get stopped, or simply get the NSFW filter as well? What about child pornography? There are cultures where girls become women from a much younger age, and even over here in the UK, women could get married from 12. In Japan, there is an entire culture centralised around pornography which involves animated children (i.e. under 12), that is culturally accepted. Simple NSFW or unacceptable online?
     
    Hmm… I think I’ll need to do a little more studying around this. One thing is for certain, though… free speech is a ruddy confusing little topic, aye!

  5. Pingback: Google reverses decision concerning adult blog content - AGBeat

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