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Pinterest to flag ‘culturally insensitive’ costume searches

Social media  and image sharing platform Pintrest has revealed that it will be flagging up any ‘culturally insensitive’ costume searches in the run-up to this year’s Halloween celebrations.

The website will make users aware that some searches – such as ‘Day of the Dead costume’, ‘gypsy costume’, or ‘geisha costume’ – may be classed as cultural appropriation by some.

When users search for Halloween costume inspiration, they will be reminded that some people feel that certain costumes turn a person’s identity into a stereotyped image. Instead, the search results will include information on how to celebrate the holiday thoughtfully and respectfully.

The company also announced that it will be taking additional steps to prohibit the advertising of culturally inappropriate costumes and will allow users to report those which they deem to be insensitive.

“Halloween should be a time for inspiration — not a time for insensitivity. Costumes should not be opportunities to turn a person’s identity into a stereotyped image,” said Annie Ta, head of inclusive product at Pinterest. “As a place that’s used by hundreds of millions of people, we feel a responsibility at Pinterest to keep the platform inspiring and positive and bring awareness to the fact that cultures aren’t costumes.”

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