Self, Sex

Facebook Doesn't Want You Talking About Safe Sex

I'm the person who runs the Facebook page for YourTango. Yes, I'm that girl! Hello. Among many other things, my job is to facillitate conversations on topics that are central to living your best love life. I love this part of my job. I get to hear what our audience thinks and interact with them in a real and engaging manner. How many people can say that they get to talk to strangers about how to fight with your husband?

I believe these conversations, while sometimes tongue-in-cheek are valuable to having an open and honest dialogue about the reality of love and relationships in our modern society. 

What I didn't expect was that Facebook doesn't feel the same way.

Yesterday, I posted a link on YourTango's Facebook page to an article discussing the dangers of oral sex. The article, written by the fabulous TresSugar, reports on a new study that finds a link between what goes on down there and throat cancer. It's really quite alarming. The article mentions a rise in HPV and reccomends the HPV vaccination as a way to protect against this cancer-causing STD.Is Oral Sex More Dangerous Than Smoking?

I posted the link on Facebook because I wanted to start a dialogue about safe sex and misconceptions about oral sex. It's an important conversation, especially given the number of teens and adults who have no idea that what they thought is safe could be killing them.

The next morning, I woke up and my account had received a warning that I personally violated the site's terms of use because I posted sexually explicit content. I was confused. Despite the fact that I've been on Facebook since college and I was in a sorority, there are no pictures of me doing anything inappropriate, unless you call stuffing a whole cupcake in your mouth inappropriate. Also, I'm a mother, so for the past year all my Facebook posts are more akin to "aww cute baby!" than solicitations for a little wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Then, I made my way over to the YourTango Facebook wall and saw that our link to the article about oral sex had been removed along with all your comments.

While I recognize Facebook is a private company with the right to decide what is appropriate on their site, how does a conversation about safe sex violate the terms of use? And more importantly, why is Facebook censoring a conversation designed to be instructive, helpful and informative? 

Facebook has positioned themselves as the premier social network. They want to be the place where conversations happen. So why are we censored when we start a conversation about an important subject? How can we as a society move past dangerous misconceptions about sex if we are not allowed to have those conversations in a way that is real and relevant?

What do you think? Was I out of line or is Facebook turning dangerously puritannical?

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