Anna Sampson

NAME: Anna Sampson
CENSORSHIP: Content Removal

What reason was given for your ban?

Your guess is as good as mine. The most recent post that was deleted from my Instagram profile was from a fashion editorial of a friend’s erotic knitwear pieces. I censored the nipples – with obnoxious black star clip art – and yet it was still deleted. However, the post remained on my collaborator’s pages, and on my back-up profile.

Why do you think your post(s) was censored?

Any representation of sexuality as non-functional and non-normative is seemingly warranted as destructive. This is the society we live in.

Were you able to appeal and what was the response?

I have appealed countless times but with no luck. I had a few friends who had content that was attached to me/my work deleted at a similar time. Every time you have a post removed, you are threatened with account deletion and the reach of your audience is minimised. It’s a totalitarian regime, designed to force you to comply to ‘community guidelines.’ However, I cannot acknowledge censored nipples as a threat to the community.

What effect has your experience of censorship had on you?

I didn’t post for a few months to try lift my shadowban and reset the algorithms.

I have had SO much of my work removed from my Instagram profile over the past few years. It seems my account is particularly sensitive and targeted – so much so I rarely share my work there now as I cannot run the risk of the deletion of my account. Most of my clients and connections are made through Instagram. My livelihood is on the line.

For me, being an erotic photographer and artist, this paradox is impossible to navigate. It troubles me so much it was the focus of my recent MA dissertation in Gender & Politics (UCL) – which I will look to publish soon. It centred the first-hand voices and narratives of marginalised sex workers and artists and their lived experiences with censorship and policing measures that came into force over lockdown(s).”

What’s one thing you want people to know about this topic?

How important sexuality and pleasure is to our well-being. Especially if we consider the recent context of the global pandemic. For example, porn was proposed as a remedy to social distancing rules by institutions of ‘authority.’ So, how can this be overlooked or dismissed as a ‘threat’ to the community when it afforded intimacy, connection and play into our restricted lockdown lives?