Something a little scary happened to me on Pinterest yesterday…

Something scary happened to me on Pinterest

Something a little scary happened to me yesterday on Pinterest… and it could happen to you, too.

I was followed by someone with an entirely porn/nudity portfolio. Yes, you read that right. Obviously, I didn’t follow the person back. But, my Pinterest profile is seen by other people (including you, readers!) and I don’t want my genuine audience to see a follower that has explicit nudity and porn on their boards.

I discovered through this experience that Pinterest has grossly inadequate reporting and screening mechanisms by today’s standards. I did report one of these pins immediately before blocking the user from my profile. But to report nude content, you have to actually click on the pin first. That’s right – enlarge the offending content?!  The option to report an entire user or an entire board is not available anymore, or if it is, I couldn’t find it.

Someone could argue that there’s porn out there everywhere on the internet. That’s true, but on most other media it doesn’t find its way to you personally via followers, inbox or feed – filters keep it out. I’ve not had any porn getting to me on forums, or on Twitter. Image recognition filtering technology is definitely out there, and Pinterest isn’t using it, or at least not effectively. Sure, even software might have trouble classifying borderline cases correctly (e.g. lingerie models), but what I saw was not borderline!

Explicit nudity finding its way to you via a follower is highly concerning. It’s insidious: porn should not be coming to you if you’re not looking for it, basically. My experience yesterday was eye-opening in the sense that I know now that I would not ever feel comfortable with any child of mine being on Pinterest. I also now know the importance of educating my child about what to do about this type of situation long before it arises – instead of after the fact. I’m only glad that I learned this lesson through me, and not through my child.

On Pinterest there is absolutely nothing to stop this issue from happening again – nothing, no setting on our profiles saying “don’t show me adult content” or “don’t allow followers with adult content”. We don’t have any protection from this happening again. There is not even the option to disallow followers until we approve a follow request – which would be a very simple fix for Pinterest to implement.

I know that my experience may not be at all typical of others. If your experience of Pinterest is a positive one, I’m happy for you.

Yesterday’s experience is what has ultimately led me to the decision to delete my Pinterest account – I feel that anything else would be a disservice to my blog readers. We shouldn’t be coming across porn or nudity from our other followers, after all!

My husband asked me:

Why does this Pinterest experience bother you so much, given that you’re not a total prude and the internet is, well, the internet?

Good question.  Porn is out there on Pinterest & elsewhere, but I’m more bothered by the fact that Pinterest does nothing at all in a preventive sense to ensure users don’t see that content. It allows reporting after the fact, but there’s nothing in place to prevent this scary situation happening again.

In other words:

I have now come to think of Pinterest not as a family-friendly venue anymore, but instead as a venue where adult content is allowed to be uploaded.  Pinterest can certainly be attempted to be used in a family-friendly manner, but I personally cannot think of it as a family-friendly site any longer.

So, this is why deleting my Pinterest account was an easy decision for me.

Of course, each person needs to do what’s right for them and works for them. Those of you on Pinterest are as always very welcome to pin my blog posts if you wish to (including this one!) For many of my posts I have the Pin button enabled (on picture hover) for items other than fast-expiring sales or coupons.

In more positive news, I’m in the middle of writing a fun post showing how you can take some easy steps to create a put-together runway-look outfit for your child – on a discount store budget.  I’m looking forward to sharing that with you soon!

Have a great week!