This Medium essay by A.V. Flox is entitled Internet Sex Panics Hurt LGBTQ Communities and it begins:

Instagram’s recent removal of a lesbian couple’s photo isn’t an accident, though the image has now been restored and friends at Facebook (which acquired Instagram in 2012) are telling me it really was a just terrible mistake. I love all my friends in tech — both the ones who still believe that they can do something good and the ones who look like cancer patients, whose souls have been hollowed out by the truth of trying to do good under capitalism.

But the truth is that in tech everything always is a mistake or an accident, unless it’s a silence.

Here’s another truth: Removing or limiting hashtags — as Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter have done — is a policy decision. Withdrawing advertising from specific verticals is a policy decision. Limiting search for specific terms is a policy decision. Not doing a goddamn thing about transwomen whose profiles are repeatedly flagged in harassment campaigns is a policy decision.

Silicon Valley is not full of prudes committed to a heteronormative agenda. Execs don’t often care — and even when they do, they still make decisions factoring cost, gains, and how best to evade a regulatory backlash. That’s it.

When you see platforms changing their terms one after the other like we’ve been seeing all year, hiding or restricting or demonetizing queer content under the guise of targeting pornography or tightening up “community guidelines” or some other nonsense, it’s regulatory pressure at work.

Flox focuses on that phrase “regulatory pressure” for the rest of the article, which is a focus with which I have some minor issues; my own #pornocalypse theory explains much of the same behavior in terms of pressure from financial actors, which may or may not be responding to their own regulatory pressures. Be that as it may, I’m not saying Flox is wrong in any particular; if we disagree, it’s a matter of focus and framing. The whole essay it thoughtful and worth your time, and the many links (which I did not reproduce, even in the intro material quoted above) also very worthy.

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