Social media is such a huge part of our lives these days, and just like the real world, this virtual space is full of controversy. People are getting banned from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram every day. Some of these individuals are just regular people, and some of them are big time celebrities. These people have fallen under the crushing blow of the “ban hammer” for varying reasons, including nudity, hate speech, hacking, political comments, cyber-bullying, and much more.
The reasons for these bans and the stories behind them give us a lot of insight into the way our world works. Where does our right to free speech end? Are people not free to show their bodies and speak their minds? Why is the male nipple allowed to be photographed but not the female nipple? Do we really have free speech if certain political views are not allowed to be voiced, even if they are deemed “hate-speech?”
People forget that the internet is not a country; it’s not obliged to follow any rules and if it does, the rules are created by CEO’s of social media companies, not politicians. What if the internet had zero censorship whatsoever? What would that look like? It would probably be interesting, disturbing, and offensive all at once.
15 Milo Yiannopoulos
This guy just made the news, and he's probably the latest semi-famous person to get banned from Twitter. Just to make it clear, getting banned from Twitter is actually really hard to do, and it's incredibly rare for Twitter to actually make sure someone gets permanently banned. You have to do something really crazy to get banned from Twitter, something that really crosses the line. And that's exactly what Right-wing gay activist Milo Yiannopoulos did. He basically started harassing Leslie Jones, the actress of the Ghostbusters remake, until he was blocked from her account. Then, he encouraged his fans to send her hateful messages and generally take over her Twitter. The fans did just that, and it caused Leslie Jones to have a meltdown and threaten to leave Twitter. Twitter then permanently banned Milos from Twitter. The Ghostbusters remake has been seen as a symbol of feminism, and it has received a lot of hate from anti-feminist people like Milos, along with everyone who disagreed with the decision to have an all-female cast.
14 Melody Pool
Melody Pool is a singer from Melbourne, Australia, and she is mad as hell with Facebook after they recently banned her. The reason they banned her will have you very confused. All she did was talk about her period. Apparently that is a huge no-no for Facebook, as her account was immediately suspended. Crazy, huh? Melody immediately took to Twitter to vent her frustration, saying that she felt oppressed. She was confused as to why a normal bodily function was considered “inappropriate” by Facebook’s moderators, and she was inconvenienced because she could no longer message anyone through Facebook. She says this is an example of sexism, explaining, “You and your patriarchal mindset are not welcome on my personal Facebook page, you sour old dinosaur. In the words of my beautiful friend Laura, ‘I’m going to keep bleeding and keep being loud!”
13 Isis Thomas
It is a little known fact that the word "Isis" is actually the name of an ancient Egyptian goddess, pictured above. Before the radical Islamist terrorist group adopted the acronym as their moniker, it was simply the name of a goddess. That's what the parents of 27-year-old Isis Thomas were thinking when they named their child, long before the terrorist group emerged. They had no idea that naming their child after a little-known goddess would cause so many problems. Years later, when this woman living in Bristol, England tried to sign into Facebook, she was told that she had to change her name. Facebook said her name violated the site's policy. Facebook even asked her to send in pictures to confirm her identity. She complied, but for a while she never heard any reply. The site has been very hard to get in contact with, and seems intent on deleting Isis' account from Facebook forever, and it wasn't even her fault! She did nothing wrong!
12 Elly Mortimer
Recently, something very strange happened in Hull, England. As part of a massive art piece, thousands of people painted themselves blue after stripping down naked. It was all for a famous photographer, who wanted to take pictures of something truly remarkable. The people were supposed to represent water. Anyway, Elly Mortimer was one of the people who volunteered to be part of this art piece, and she decided to take a selfie of herself painted blue, in the nude, and upload it to Facebook. Right away, she was banned from the site. She was confused as to why she received the ban because it was covered in all of the major news sites, and they all posted the pictures of the blue painted nudists. So why was she the one who was getting punished, when other pictures of these volunteers were being posted all over the internet. The message she got from Facebook was "We have restricted the display of nudity." She was unable to send any messages, or post anything on her account.
11 Aimee Davison
Aimee Davison is one of the most recent victims of what many are calling a double standard when it comes to the exposure of breasts on the internet. Facebook routinely bans women for posting pictures of themselves breastfeeding, but girls who show off their cleavage are allowed to post even the most scandalous pictures and get away with it scot free. Some argue that even bare breasts should be allowed on Facebook and other social media sites, since guys are allowed to post topless pictures of themselves with no problems. Aimee Davison was actually covering her breasts when she posted the above picture, but a small amount of her areola was showing, and that’s what got her in trouble. She wanted to make a statement to the world when she posted the picture, complete with “Make America gay again” written across her chest, but in the end it ended up getting her banned from Facebook.
10 Liberty Memes
"Liberty Memes" is not a person, but a page with thousands of subscribers on Facebook, that is before it was taken down by the site's moderators. It was famous for poking fun at various political figures, like Hillary Clinton in the above meme. Apparently you're not allowed to make fun of politicians on Facebook, because the page was taken down and the moderators of the page were banned from Facebook. This is quite a scary concept, because once you deny people the right to criticize their political leaders, the country starts sounding a lot like a fascist dictatorship, much like North Korea, Iran, The 3rd Reich, or Stalin's Russia. And we don't want to live in a country like that, do we? This is a stark reminder that freedom of speech does not actually exist on the internet, as sites like Facebook are not governed by the constitution or a nation's guiding principles, but by the decisions of its CEO's and funding. Facebook's message to the moderators of the page was that the memes "violated the site's community standards."
9 Azealia Banks
Azealia Banks is famous for her crazy Twitter rants, but she eventually took things way too far, and was subsequently banned from the social media site. It all started when she started sending anti-gay and racist messages to Zayn Malik, accusing the younger star of stealing her style. The whole internet looked on in revulsion as this crazy woman let rip with a tide of hateful words. Then, a young 14-year-old Disney star called Skai Jackson chimed in with her opinion of Azealia, and that proved to spark a huge incident. When the dust settled, Azealia was actually soundly beaten in a battle of words by a 14-year-old girl. As if that humiliation wasn't enough, Twitter then banned her from the website. And, to add even more salt to the wound, people in England found out about her online conduct and cancelled her show that was scheduled that summer in London.
8 Charles C. Johnson
Meet one of the internet’s top trolls. This guy has made a name for himself in the world of cyberspace by turning trolling into a fine art. But one day his merciless trolling got him banned from Twitter. First off, you should know that this guy is notoriously right-wing, and he is not afraid to share his views on the matter. Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson bore the brunt of this guy’s trolling capacity recently, and it was this that eventually got him banned. Johnson set up a page which received donations to raise money to “take out” McKesson, and it was getting a lot of donations. McKesson took this as a threat to his life, and reported it, which led to Johnson’s banning. Johnson later said that it was not a threat on McKesson’s life, but "taking him out" was merely a metaphorical way of saying remove him from the public eye.
Arca is a well-known music producer, and he’s famous for working with artists such as Kanye West and Bjork. But he was subject to what is considered by many to be a senseless ban from Twitter after posting his artwork on the social media site. It actually wasn’t his artwork, it was created by his longtime friend and artist Jesse Kanda. The problem was Jesse’s artwork involved a stylized nude female complete with a vagina. The artwork was designed to accompany his single “Vanity,” which is actually quite a good track. But Arca was incensed that people on Instagram would not be able to see the full artistic experience of the song and the artwork together. After his ban, he wrote “Instagram [is] lame as hell for deleting my pic and account f**k you IG.”
6 Tay Tweets
One of the most hilarious bans in Twitter history was when “Tay” got taken off Twitter. Why? Because Tay wasn’t actually a person, in fact she was an “artificial intelligence” designed by Twitter itself. Tay was designed to analyze tweets and messages from other users and emulate them. Her personality, in theory, would develop as a reflection of the human consciousness and collective expression as a whole. Sounds like a pretty cool concept, but this experiment ended up going horribly wrong. The reason was because of the way Tay was programmed. Tay was designed to emulate and “copy” the people it interacted with, so if a specific group decided to interact with Tay much more than others, Tay would start to behave more and more like that specific group. Well, unfortunately for Tay, a certain right-wing population of the internet, heralding from 4chan’s infamous “/pol” board, among other places, found out about Tay. They started talking to her about their racist and politically incorrect views, and soon enough Tay started to talk just like a white supremacist. After only about 2 weeks of being active, Tay was taken offline by Twitter. Probably because she tweeted messages like the image above. RIP, Tay.
5 Sue Moseley
People have gotten banned from Instagram for a variety of stupid reasons, but getting kicked of the site for posting a picture of a cake? Well, that just takes the cake… Yes, that’s right, a mother who had posted a picture of a cake was banned from Instagram after she had posted a picture of a cake her daughter had baked. She was immediately banned from Instagram. Why? Because apparently Instagram has an automated system that scans pictures for nudity, and somehow it thought that Sue Moseley’s cake was a nipple. She was informed that her account had been taken offline because she had violated Instagram’s terms by posting sexually suggestive content. The cake was a “simnel cake,” which featured 12 marzipan balls on the top, signifying Jesus’ disciples. Well, apparently these holy balls got confused for female nipples, and Sue Moseley lost her account and all of her photos.
4 Sl**s Against Harper
People can resort to pretty desperate measures when it comes to election time. One of the best examples of this is the “Sl**s against Harper” movement. This movement was started by Canadian self-proclaimed sl**s who were, as the name implies, against Stephen Harper. They wanted Harper to lose, and they were willing to put their bodies on the line in order to ensure that he did not become prime minister for another term. Their goal was simple: They would send nudes to every guy who could prove that they had voted against Harper. With this radical idea they intended to secure the vote of millions of young Canadian men who would jump at the chance to receive nudes from a real-life girl, even if they wouldn’t have bothered to vote otherwise. Naturally, they were banned from Instagram. During election day, founder of the movement Jessica Simps told news that there was such a huge demand for nudes that she described her work as a “nude factory,” as she was constantly receiving emails from volunteers containing nudes that would then be sent to voters who had proved that they’d voted against Harper. Even though they were banned from Instagram, the movement kept rolling, and Harper lost the election.
3 Courtney Stodden
Courtney Stodden got an unpleasant surprise after she tried to post a nude selfie. She was angry after she had received a message saying she had violated the site’s terms. So angry, in fact, that she decided to vent about her frustration with Instagram to anyone who would listen. Courtney, like many other women, claims that she is a victim of a double standard against women. Truth be told, the image was pretty damn sexual, and since it’s basically a nude we can’t show you the picture. But I’m sure if you do a little digging, you can find it. Google is your friend! Instagram is not a friend of Courtney’s however. She had a lot to say about the incident, claiming that “it is provocative though it does not go against Instagram’s community guidelines.” She points out that men seem to get away with posting pictures that are pretty much nudes, whereas women get punished. “What is this double standard? I see pictures of men all the time on Instagram, they’re posing there with their weenie hanging out, they got a towel over it but you can literally see it, you can see everything,” she lamented in an interview.
2 Scout Willis
Scout Willis is the daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore. She, like many other women in this article, feels strongly about the double standard that women are subjected to, especially in regards to pictures on social media. She felt so strongly about it that she even walked down the streets of New York completely topless. This was all part of the “Free the nipple” movement, which protested Instagram’s nudity guidelines and censorship of the female nipple. She wasn’t the only celebrity to get on board with this movement; other nipple activists included other female models and even comedians. Along with the image above, she posted the following message, “I’m arguing for a woman’s right to choose how she represents her body.” Do you think Bruce Willis is proud of his little girl?
1 Kendall Jenner
With all the hype that they’ve been getting lately, we just had to put a Kardashian at the top of our list. Just to make it clear, the above image isn’t what got Kendall Jenner banned from Instagram. The actual photo was similar; she was on the runway of the New York Fashion Week when she was 19 years old, but her top was completely and utterly transparent. This picture isn’t hard to find, and a quick google search will take you right to it in all its controversial glory. After seeing the image, the unashamed model then posted the picture on Instagram, which resulted in her getting banned. This is yet another female who clashed with Instagram’s nudity policy, a woman who is confident with her own body but is made to feel like she should be ashamed of it.
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