Sites like Tumblr and Pinterest have been my latest go-to boards for inspiration, collecting recipes, connecting with students and their interests, and just wasting time away while sipping on coffee and building a wish list of things I want to buy but will never be able to afford.
It doesn’t take long to encounter the pro-ana community when you’re on sites that revolve around collections of photos. Regardless of whether or not you consider anorexia a mental illness or lifestyle choice, it is widespread enough for Tumblr and Pinterest to change their user policies to ban content promoting “thinspiration”/”thinspo” and eating disorders.
Do companies have a moral obligation to remove user-generated thinspo/pro-ana content, just as they’ve been pressured to block hateful and pornographic content?
The Internet is hardly a venue for morals and meeting obligations, but the demand for spam-blocking, as well as parental and privacy controls, shows that these things need to be on the radar of social networking sites. It’s a slippery slope that companies need to be really careful about going down. For example, I think it’s great that Facebook blocks pornography, as we all know there are lots of young kids using those sites for playing games. On the other hand, removing photos of women breastfeeding is a bit extreme. I guess some folks/morons at Facebook consider breastfeeding a sexual act.
When a company decides to block a certain type of content, it can be construed as a political decision. Tumblr allows porn and I frequently encounter of racist-themed posts on the dashboard. Does coming out about blocking pro-ana mean that they are more concerned with what a person does to themselves than what a person does to others? Do you think that makes sense?
Just something to think about.