While Halloween is a time for self expression, Pinterest is making sure that people remain culturally appropriate while doing so.
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This year, the image-sharing social network will step up its policing enforcements in reminding Pinners that some costumes are not culture. The company announced that it will take additional steps to prohibit the advertising of culturally inappropriate costumes and to allow Pinners to report those that are deemed insensitive.
“Each year, millions of people come to Pinterest for Halloween inspiration,” a Pinterest spokesperson told FOX Business. “Pinterest is a place for positivity, and so we want to make it easy to find Halloween ideas that are fun as well as culturally-sensitive, along with information from experts.”
When Pinners search for a Halloween costume, the top of the feed results will feature a prominent educational Pin on how to celebrate the holiday thoughtfully and respectfully. The page of tips and advice, compiled from experts and Pinterest employee groups, provides insight into how to steer away from turning a person’s identity into a stereotyped image.
For example, Native author Adrienne Keene writes that “despite the decades of work by Native activists,” Indigenous cultures and peoples are not costumes and that “stereotypes represented through Hallowwen are harmful.” Keene debunks the argument for wearing a stereotypical Indian costume as means to honor to Indigenous peoples and that dressing in a “cheap, knock-off costume” does not gesture honor in the way that recognizing their treaty rights and sovereignty and supporting Indigenous cultural revitalization.”
In addition to flagging search terms like “Indian costume,” Pinterest will also signal any other searches that might adopt cultural aspects for Halloween, including “Day of the Dead costume,” “gypsy costume,” or “geisha costume.”
Even though the online pinboard will not remove culturally inappropriate Halloween content unless it violets existing policies around hateful activities, it is limiting these types of ideas as proactive suggestions in channels like email and notification and making it easier for Pinners to report culturally inappropriate content.
“We’ve taken these steps because Halloween is one of the most popular times of year on Pinterest, and want to make Pinterest an inspiring and positive place for everyone,” the Pinterest spokesperson said.
Pinterest will continue to work with experts and employee resource groups to identify what is considered culturally inappropriate and where to place the information.