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A Social Media Censorship Guidance for Artists has been launched by Don’t Delete Art coalition

13 April 2021

 

Don’t Delete Art creates the first comprehensive resource for artists to avoid and combat censorship on social media.  

12 March 2021: Today, an international coalition of artists and free expression organisations launch Don’t Delete Art, a virtual gallery and campaign f. The partners, including Freemuse, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), Article19, PEN America’s Artists at Risk Connection (ARC), IBEX Collection and International Arts Rights Advisors. This first comprehensive resource for artists seeks to avoid and combat censorship on social media combianing advice from Facebook and Instagram staff, with insights from arts advocates and artists about how to comply with the vague, and often capriciously-applied, rules that govern what art is allowed on social media. 

Don’t Delete Art is an advocacy campaign and virtual gallery showcasing artwork which has been banned or restricted online. The work is selected by a rotating collective of international artists and curators, including Gala Garrido, Kenneth Gruenholtz, Osman Can Yerebakan, Savannah Spirit and Spencer TunickDon’t Delete Art was created in response to artists’ increased reliance on social media platforms in the absence of physical art spaces.  

 

“We couldn’t just wait for the platforms to catch up. This is about artists helping artists survive. We have to be able to reach our audiences, to work within the current guidelines while we keep pushing back against a removal and appeals process too many artists struggle to navigate”  said Spencer Tunick, one of the founding curators of the gallery and a frequently-censored artist.  

 

Key Issues on the The Resource: 

  • The resource draws from the hard-earned wisdom of artists who have weathered countless post removals, shadow bans and account deletions.  
  • It includes specific advice for image pixelation, hashtag selection, contextualizing work and appealing removals. 
  • In addition to digital resources, Don’t Delete Art will host virtual collaborative sessions with artists and advocates. 

 

Founding curator Savannah Spirit has struggled with multiple account removals. As she describes, “It’s a sinking feeling when your art has been deleted. Even worse, you discover you’ve been locked out with no access to your data and network. Without inside help, artists have to start all over again. These pointless takedowns leave artists powerless. Don’t Delete Art helps artists protect their account and maintain control of their online presence.” 

 

Key Issues on The Campaign: 

  • Don’t Delete Art is calling on social media companies to commit to consistent, accurate enforcement and to adopt a set of principles governing how they handle art on their platforms. The principles include improved notifications for all content that is removed or “downranked,” opportunities to appeal all content moderation decisions from post removal to downranking to account deletion, and a commitment to encourage, rather than discourage, artistic freedom. 

 

According to NCAC’s Director of Programs, Svetlana Mintcheva, “We understand the complexities of creating consistent community standards for billions of users. But social media platforms are our de-facto public space. They are essential to artists and art audiences. A censorship regime that forces art like that exhibited in Don’t Delete Art out of sight impoverishes the public sphere and is devastating to artists who – for political or economic reasons – may have no other avenues of expression.” 

 

Key Issues on The Gallery 

  • The gallery includes works that have been banned or restricted by artists including Carolee Schneemann, Betty Tompkins, Clarity Haynes, Alpha Channeling and Olek, among dozens of others. 
  • The gallery is accepting submissions and will be updated on a revolving basis. 

 

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Artists, curators and organizational representatives available for further comment. 

Don’t Delete Art is viewable at dontdelete.art. The website includes a submission form for censored artists, as well as more information about the curatorial collective. 

Freemuse is an independent international non-governmental organization advocating for freedom of artistic expression and cultural diversity. Freemuse has United Nations Special Consultative Status to the Economic and Social Council (UN-ECOSOC) and Consultative Status with UNESCO. 

The National Coalition Against Censorship promotes freedom of thought, inquiry and expression and opposes censorship in all its forms. NCAC’s Arts Advocacy Program is the only US national program dedicated to working directly with artists, curators and arts institutions facing censorship threats. 

Article19 works for a world where all people everywhere can freely express themselves and actively engage in public life without fear of discrimination.  

International Arts Rights Advisors provide support, information, and training to artists and arts institutions, taking a creative, dynamic and personal approach to keeping the space for expression open to multiple and diverse voices. 

IBEX Collection is the largest active collection of contemporary, figurative, super-realistic art in the world. 

PEN America’s Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) expands on PEN’s work defending writers by safeguarding the right to artistic freedom of expression and ensuring that artists and cultural professionals everywhere can live and work without fear.  

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