Exposed or Erased: Algorithmic Censorship of Nudity in Art

Authors: Riccio, P. , Hofmann, T. , Oliver, N.

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Publication: CHI '24: Proceedings of the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, p. 1-17, 2024
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The intersection between art and technology poses new challenges for creative expression in the digital space. This paper investigates the algorithmic censorship of artistic nudity in social platforms by means of a qualitative study via semi-structured interviews with 14 visual artists who have experienced censorship online. We explore the professional, emotional, financial and artistic consequences of content removal or shadow-banning. Focusing on the concept of artistic nudity, our findings emphasize the significant impact on artists of the algorithmic censorship of art, the need to consider art as a special case to safeguard the freedom of expression, the importance of education, the limitations of today’s content moderation algorithms and the pressing need for transparency and recourse mechanisms. We advocate for a multi-stakeholder governance model conducive to a more supportive, safer and inclusive online environment that respects and nurtures human creativity.