Saturday, 6 June 2015

Should Pinterest Clean Up Its Act?


Is Pinterest sexist? In my recent experience, yes.


I used to love Pinterest. It was a great site to browse and spend my time as a writer, and the best part was I didn’t have to worry about being bothered by sexist creeps who couldn’t see past the female label.
In the past few weeks that has changed. One of my group book boards suddenly began to be followed by an influx of men whose profiles showed all the respect and restraint of mouth-breathing neanderthals. Now I take some responsibility here, as I had an invite policy that was fairly open. I obviously did a poor job of screening some invitees before I noticed the disheartening trend (and unfortunately this development, and other problems, has closed down the open invite policy for that board).
Now, I have no problem with nudity. The problem I have is with sexist and exploitative images. And in the past few weeks I have regrettably seen plenty, to my undying disgust and frustration.

The following is just an unpleasant sample of what I’ve come across (so if this type of thing offends, you may wish to skip this part):
  • Typical nude, Playboy type bending over or provocative poses, all showing ample T&A
  • Topless bed sprawling, with women grabbing their parts
  • A guy with his private parts exposed and ready for action
  • Bondage, with a suggestion it’s non-consensual
  • Semi-nude pictures depicting a woman dressed as an underage schoolgirl (and I really hope the model in those shots was not in fact underage)


What’s more, all of the above images (to my knowledge) go against Pinterest policy.

It got to the point that I started reporting and blocking these profiles, as my book board was (and is), for lack of a better term, being targeted by dozens of these creepy guys. Now comes the twist. In the last few days, my report button (how you let Pinterest know their policies have been violated) has disappeared from my profile. I messaged the site (albeit in a bit of an angry, ranting way), told them of my experience AND that the report button had gone missing. This was the first part of their reply:

We're sorry you came across inappropriate content on Pinterest. To keep Pinterest a place that everyone can enjoy, we don’t allow anything that's hateful, illegal, obscene, violent, or otherwise detrimental to our community.
If you’re trying to report a Pin or Pinner, please use our in-product reporting options.

Their “in-product reporting options” are, essentially, the report button, which I stated was missing. They then went on to reiterate the same basic stuff that’s on their help page.
So, at best the guy didn’t read my message carefully and behaved like an idiot, or at worst they have no interest in removing offending content violations and were trying to get rid of me.

The whole experience has soured me on the Pinterest site.

I used to be an advocate for Pinterest, but my future advice—think twice about using the site.


2 comments:

A. F. Stewart said...

Update on the ongoing saga. I received another message from Pinterest via the missing report button (finally). The site has done away with the report button in favour of flagging individual pins. The jury is still out with me as I also tried this option and it seemed not to work. Maybe I missed something, but it may need tweaking. If you ask me, I think they best get their act together if they want to stay in business.

A. F. Stewart said...

More updating: The problem with the flagging seems to have originated with Chrome; this Pinterest method of reporting does not seem to agree with my Chrome browser. It does work, however, in Firefox.

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