What defines ‘adult content’ and what exactly do you mean by explicit?

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APC’s women’s programme has started a really cool research project on sexuality and the internet. The first researchers meeting is about to happen next month and I’m lucky enough to be invited. So I’ve been reading around and thought I’ll try and share some of the good stuff that I see.

The EroTICS (as the project is known – a play on the Spanish work for ICTs being TICs, a language we use a lot in APC) research team includes folks from one country in each region. In North America the researchers are from the USA and they are a collective called Sex Work Awareness. They pointed out that Ning, the networking site used for the Erotics project, has a policy excluding ‘adult’ groups.

SWA says: “Ning’s blog points out that the adult groups were the subject of more complaints than others and required more work for the company than other groups because of this. This is reasonable. However, if complaints are the criteria, such justification could be used to shut down forums about any topic, including non-adult themes like our research project discussion, if enough people complain. [..]

Ning has not eliminated sex workers’ groups and hosts groups like ours that address sexual issues. But where is the line where these groups become ‘adult’? It is imperative not to let complaints be the only criteria because then complaints become a tool that could be used politically to censor ideas and discussions that some people don’t want to happen. Sensitive topics could include sexual harassment, breast health, reproductive health, and many more.”

It’s well worth reading SWA’s full post What defines ‘adult content’ and what exactly do you mean by explicit?

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