Why is Censorship Destructive for Artistic Representation?
In the world of the Internet and social media, censorship is not a new concept. However, it is a concept that has drastically changed over time. Its initial purpose was to protect the viewers from disturbing images and videos, which could be psychologically damaging to both children and to adults. This all seemed logical and Internet users were not against it, so long as its purpose was to help them enjoy the many wonders of the Internet without disturbing interruptions. However, censorship today has gone way too far.
The mainstream platforms went “hysterical”
Something that was initially intended for the protection of Internet users has now deformed into a hysterical restriction on almost everything that doesn’t fall into the rule book of the content “gatekeepers”.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Tumblr, and even Instagram and Twitter, have banned people and content simply because they were suddenly seen as ‘too much to handle’. What’s interesting about their decision to ban certain types of art and artistic expression is that it doesn’t seem like the platforms actually consulted their users first before making their final decision. We have almost reached a stage where even the users are not sure where all of this censorship is going. According to Sarah Manavis, this constitutes an endless list of social media companies failing to understand what their users want and what their platforms actually do.
This doesn’t mean that there should not be any censorship at all, but it does mean that artists will suffer from it as a result. After all, the purpose of art is to evoke emotion out of the audience, to imprint meaning into their minds, and to be a free form of expression. Censoring art is the equivalent of censoring a person’s own mind, and preventing them to freely express themselves on the Internet. Censorship alienates people from the world and causes marginalized groups to be even less visible than they were before. After all, free speech is the one thing that we pride ourselves on. It is what sets us apart from the civilizations of the past, and what propels us to advance as a species for the future.
Who knows how many brilliant ideas are silenced when they no longer have a platform on which they could be released.
The consequence of censorship is that it limits people to be themselves and to share their knowledge and experience with others. And if censorship is taken to such extremes, when will it end? We are not all offended by the same things, and we do not all have the same opinions, so how do we draw the line between the justified censorship and anti-democracy? Every act of censorship is also an act of iconoclasm – the action of attacking or assertively rejecting cherished beliefs and institutions or established values and practices.
It is now becoming more and more obvious that the motive behind this extreme level of censorship of artists on social media is the fear of offending anyone. As if by removing artistic expression will somehow create an environment where all users will get along and will never have to deal with any offense or any opinion that is not theirs.
Where will artists go if all major platforms are censoring them?
Luckily, not everyone in the world agrees with these new rules of banning artistic expression, even if the artistic expression is marked as NSFW. Many people continue to work on developing new ways where freedom of speech will be evident in its full power. phlow is one of those places where freedom of artistic expression is of crucial importance.
phlow was developed by a team of like minded individuals, who wanted to create a platform for visual storytellers. We understand how important it is for people to be able to express their views of the world, their creativity, and their hopes for the future – without being silenced with unjustified censorship. phlow is a platform that nurtures a culture of freedom and responsibility. New developments are constantly being made to ensure that the growing number of 70K + phlow users have everything they need to express themselves online and to use phlow to reach their own audience.
Because phlow is a content-centric platform freed from like4like and follow4follow paradigms, it doesn’t place artists against each other in the competition for likes and followers. Instead, all of the focus is on the art and its meaning. And what’s more, there is no censorship of ideas or expression on phlow. This doesn’t eliminates the responsibility of the users for the content they share, such as too explicit imagery. Certainly content that could truly be psychologically harmful can easily be reported and removed, but this is reserved for content that is on the drastic end of the scale for depicting horrible human behavior.
More and more platforms nowadays are starting to limit freedom of expression and freedom of speech through unjustified censorship, keeping their users inside their “echo chambers”. Artists suffer the most simply because they dare to push their work beyond the boundaries of what society deems to be “decent” content.
For those who ache for a place where they can be free to speak their minds and unleash their talent and creativity under their terms, phlow will always be there to provide them with a platform where they can tell their stories and share their art.
If you’re looking to share your art and not be censored, try phlow.