Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have been under fire for removing advertisements for a book on gynaecology because of the word “vagina”.
Canadian gynaecologist Dr. Jennifer Gunter, who also writes for the New York Times, complained on Twitter that her publishers had been banned from using the word “vagina” in promotional tweets for her new book, The Vagina Bible.
Gunter, who frequently tweets corrections to gyaecological myths to her 200K followers, wrote:
“Just so you know my publisher is not allowed to use the word ‘vagina’ to promote my book on Twitter. The image can have it, but they are not allowed to use ‘vagina’ in the text.”
She also tagged the CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, by following with:
“Dear Jack, Vagina is an anatomical term and not a ‘dirty’ word.”
The ads were also blocked on Facebook and Instagram.
Our societal inability to say vagina like we say elbow is one reason I insisted on VAGINA in the title.— Jennifer Gunter (@DrJenGunter) 27 August 2019
When we're not allowed to say a word the implication is it's dirty or shameful. Not being able to buy an ad because of the word vagina for a book about vaginas is ridiculous.
Tweets that were blocked for “use of inappropriate language or promoting adult sexual products” had said:
“Get your hands on the definitive book for understanding your vaginal health! @DrJenGunter’s THE VAGINA BIBLE is almost here.”
Another post was flagged on Facebook, for ‘inappropriate language’, and when Kensington Publishing changed the ad so it contained no mention of vaginas, despite that being the book’s subject, the ad was permitted.
A spokesperson for Twitter told CNN:
“We did not take action on Promoted Tweets from this account because of references to sexual organs as those are permitted within our rules. The rejection of some of the promoted content from the account was due to a combination of human error and violations, including the use of profanity and adult products.”
“We have reinstated the Tweets we took down and have informed the account owner of the reasons why we blocked the content that violated our ad policies.”
Neither Facebook nor Instagram have yet to explain their wonky policies.