The promotional content consists of a video and images, including the one featuring the musician and her wife leaning their heads against each other. The artists say they posted the same video but used a picture of a heterosexual couple in the same pose – and Facebook did not censor it.
“[…] We couldn’t believe it and were so angry. Facebook literally shapes the world we live in, and if they are silencing LGBTQ content, that is a huge issue,” Sera Golding-Young told Freemuse.
Sera Golding-Young highlighted how crucial it was for Unsung Lilly to be promoted on Facebook due to loss of income during COVID-19 pandemic. The ad aimed to reach out to fans of the band and gain their support in creating a new album.
“[…] We will not let this censorship come between us and making music. Our life has had to change a lot due to COVID losses, but we are determined and committed to making sure we give every second we can to making music, and we won’t let any censorship (or COVID) stop us.”
The artist tried to appeal the Facebook decision multiple times but was rejected repeatedly. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) contacted Facebook on behalf of Unsung Lilly and received an answer saying that the censorship was a “mistake” and claiming that the nature of dance in the video influenced the decision. The issues of the censored image of the band and acceptance of heterosexual couple image were not addressed.
“I perhaps naively believed that was an issue of the past but having seen the reaction from some people when the articles about this issue with Facebook came out in the press, we clearly have further to come than I thought”, Sera Golding-Young commented on facing discrimination as an LGBTI artist.
“On the other side, there are also so many people who celebrate it and believe that love is love,” she added.
In its report on Privatising Censorship, Digitising Violence: Shrinking Space of Women’s Rights to Create in the Digital Age, Freemuse highlights how the implementation of social media community guidelines used to censor content deemed to be objectionable impacts artistic expressions online.