FOSTA-inspired eBay ban on ‘adult content’ erases LGBTQ history

of it’s not just fans department

OnlyFans’ decision to ban “sexually explicit” content recently has received a lot of attention – a policy the company has suspended following an outcry. However, more and more people are noticing that the same kind of thing is happening on the internet because of FOSTA.

The New Yorker published a very interesting article describing how eBay recently banned almost all adult content on its website, and one of the consequences is the disappearance of important historical LGBTQ content. Again, this seems to be one of the long-awaited consequences of FOSTA. You might recall that one of FOSTA’s main backers was explicit enough that they saw it as part of their plan to stop all pornography from existing.

And it works :

Recently eBay has changed company policy in a way that will make it difficult to acquire erotic items. In May, the platform banned the sale of “sexual material” – including magazines, films and video games – and closed its “Adults Only” category to new listings in the United States. There are a few explicit exceptions, including Playboy; Penthouse; the gay fanzine End; the satirical erotic magazine run by women On our back; and something called Fantastic men, which appears to be a misspell of the PG-rated men’s style magazine Fantastic man. “Lists of nude art that do not contain suggestive sexual poses or acts are allowed,” the policy says. Materials conflicting with such distinctions – which could presumably include anything from reproductions of Michelangelo’s “The Expulsion from Heaven” to back copies of black thumbs-are, apparently, now beyond pallor.

The ban appears to be linked to the House of Commons Anti-Online Trafficking Act and the Senate Prohibition of Sexual Trafficking Act, known together as FOSTASESTA, an effort by victims’ rights defenders and right-wing activists to crack down on sex work. One of the features of the legislative package was to make websites responsible for hosted content that could “promote or facilitate the prostitution of another person”. After the signing of Donald Trump FOSTASESTA in law, in 2018, Craigslist shut down its personal contact lists, Tumblr banned sexual content, Facebook banned the formation of groups organized around sexual encounters, and Instagram stepped up its monitoring of user content, especially that which includes any suspicion of human nudity. Also relevant: eBay recently started using Dutch fintech company Adyen for electronic payment services. Like many payment processing companies, Adyen refuses to participate in the sale of adult equipment. Similar concerns from payment providers were said to have been at the center of the recent move by OnlyFans, the content subscription platform, to ban sexual content – a move they overturned after considerable outcry. led by sex workers who, in large part, helped the company build a valuation of around $ 1 billion. In a written statement about eBay’s policy change, a spokesperson said, “eBay is committed to maintaining a safe, reliable and inclusive marketplace for our community of buyers and sellers and we are continually reassessing the categories. of products authorized on the platform. ”

Congratulations to Amy Schumer, Tony Shalhoub, Seth Meyers and Josh Charles on your successful “advocacy” for FOSTA.

As the New Yorker notes, the impact here is quite significant. Researchers, archivists, historians and museums have all now passed by.

Brooklyn Museum curator Drew Sawyer said he had “often turned to eBay for prints, magazines, zines and photographic reproductions” when preparing for exhibitions. “Even though they are archived in libraries, they are often easier to buy on eBay from a logistics and registrar perspective. And also the cost. For an upcoming retrospective, Sawyer won a copy of photographer Jimmy DeSana’s self-published 1979 monograph, “Submission: Selected Photographs.” It’s one of a few hundred copies ever made, and a crucial document of a time when queer sexuality and concept art intertwined. “DeSana is an artist whose work would fall under this new policy,” Sawyer said.

And this is especially important when it comes to important LGBTQ historical documents, as institutions, like libraries, didn’t care much about this content in the past, which means they don’t have much.

In his research on his book “Bound Together: Leather, Sex, Archives, and Contemporary Art,” Andy Campbell, Associate Professor of Critical Studies at the Roski School of Art and Design, used both eBay and the Johnson Library / Carter, in addition to other archives across the country. “Bound Together” argues that queer archives are particularly precarious, as they often lack institutional support structures and their content contradicts community guidelines. Yet by making queer culture accessible, they also increase the likelihood of that more positive erasure: assimilation. The same kind of harness that was once stretched across a hairy chest in Tony DeBlase’s DungeonMaster magazine is found, some four decades later, on Taylor Swift in a paparazzi snap or Timothée Chalamet on the red carpet. Campbell can still draw these historic lines of sex, style, and commerce without eBay, but it’s harder. “When I look at an issue of Drummer Leather Magazine, I think of all the coordinated efforts of so many writers, artists, readers and publishers to represent, month after month, their experiences in this community,” Mr. ‘he said on e-mail. “With DungeonMaster, which was an almost solo labor of love for DeBlase, I think of the radical abilities of a highly motivated person to educate and titillate their community. That one or the other exists is a miracle. When it comes to finding them, “It’s a shame eBay is no longer that platform.”

There is much more to this New Yorker article, but the bottom line is that this important part of the story is being hushed up thanks to a group of “well-meaning” FOSTA prudes and supporters who saw each other sell an invoice for goods that Section 230 was evil. .

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Filed Under: 1st Amendment, adult content, archives, culture, fosta, freedom of speech, history, lgbtq, article 230, sex
Companies: ebay, onlyfans

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