Wes Viz

NAME: Wes Viz
PLATFORM & USERNAME: Insta – @wesviz
CENSORSHIP: Account & content ban

What reason was given for your ban?

Music licensing, which I had full permissions for as I was hired by the artists and their label (I direct music videos and stage visuals, as well as video artwork/fine art) My Instagram account has had warnings and content removed multiple times, sometimes taking months to restore my work. My Youtube account has been permanently banned, and I have yet to have a response from Google about this. I have never used unlicensed music in my videos.

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

Incompentent algorithms where there is no human follow up.

Were you able to appeal and what was the response?

Yes I was able to appeal, but received no response. Part of my content on instagram was restored, but my Youtube account is permanently banned and I am barred from establishing a new one using my name and email.

What effect has your experience of censorship had on you?

I am incredibly frustrated that my work which was licensed has been removed, even despite previously overturned bans and long-standing affiliations with musicians and record labels. I think it shows even if you follow the rules, if you have a small following it is difficult to get things overturned.

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

I find the concept of hierarchy by follower counts and algorithms very disheartening. It is affecting both the people viewing and the creative output being made.  My fine art is related to commentary on this exact subject. If I continue to post commentary-based artwork, I would not be surprised if my account is removed.

I am still dismayed when I see female friends post semi-nude images of themselves, not for personal or creative purposes, but citing in their description ‘for the algorithm’. I feel the algorithm has a misogynistic slant. Once I was even banned for posting an image of a book I was reading ‘Lives of the Muses’ by Francine Prose which features a female nude on the cover. I received a 24-hour ban for posing this book on my story, with no access to instagram or facebook. Having this level of censorship on the most used platforms for art is having a hugely detrimental effect on the content people feel like they can and should create.