Parma Ham

NAME: Parma Ham
CENSORSHIP: Shadow, account & content ban

What reason was given for your ban?

I’ve posted about being bullied but then had the post removed for bullying, images of my body removed despite wearing more than a beach goer, for being suggestive of sexual acts, on Facebook for not using my “real name”, the list goes on.

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

Meta’s obsession with the great infantilising of the Internet. Cyber bullies relentlessly report material they personally disagree with as hate is such a motivator, queerness being degenerate and not in line with utilitarian rules that prefer assimilation.

Were you able to appeal and what was the response?

I couldn’t appeal my account being removed, my posts have a 50% chance of having removal repealed with a rather pathetic “oops we made a mistake!” and sided with the bullies for a day or more.

What effect has your experience of censorship had on you?

Though alienating and frustrating I am used to it as it mirrors my experience in life. Instagram was never perfect but it was definitely better at connecting people together. Now it’s very hard to reach people outside your bubble, the magic was always about reaching new audiences and sharing narratives fluidly, now the algorithm only lets a select few people who are like me see my page, which is what many call the shadow ban.

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

For many underground and queer artists, their connection to social media is a lifeline – the primary way of reaching their niche audience and communities, and in most cases a significant avenue of income. We all struggle with the fear of having our accounts suspended due to puritanical rules on images related to gender identity, sexuality, trans violence, and the naked body which are exactly the realms and topics we want to confront. This form of censorship stifles creativity and affects trajectories, and it is queer artists who are particularly hit by these rules and are scared to now connect, and at times even create work if it can’t be shared. As social media continues to grow into the behemoth that dominates day-to-day life, it is important that we try to dismantle their unelected and unregulated authority .