UMO is a government-run website that provides information on sex, health and relationships to young people in Sweden aged between 13 and 25.
It launched the 'Come prepared' campaign to raise awareness of the importance of contraception and educating young people about condom usage. As part of the campaign, the organization created videos demonstrating how to put on a condom (using a dildo as a model) and in order to reach its target audience of young people, shared them to its channels on social media in several languages.
But on Facebook, Instagram (owned by Facebook), and Snapchat, these information videos were completely blocked, as first reported by SVT Nyheter. On YouTube meanwhile, a lower age-limit of 18 years for viewers was introduced, meaning viewers were greeted with a message warning the content “may be inappropriate for some viewers”, citing the site's community guidelines under which explicit sexual content is not allowed.
“We know that young people have loads of questions about sex. It's sad if the large social media platforms make it hard to access trustworthy information, when there's so much other material about sex that young people come across,” UMO brand manager Lotta Nordh Rubulis told The Local.
The organization argues that a lot of online material relating to sex gives young people a misleading impression of what safe and healthy sexual relationships are. An age limit of 18 makes it harder for the films to reach the audience of younger teens who have not had sex, and may not know how to use condoms correctly.
“I think it's regrettable that it's much harder for young people to get clear information about condoms. Sex and relationships education has actually been obligatory in Swedish schools for a long time,” Rubulis said.
“Condoms are a good way to show consideration, to protect yourself against sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. We know that lots of young people have sex without condoms. If you're secure in how condoms should be put on, it's more likely that you'll also dare to suggest that they should be used,” she added.
The message on YouTube. Screengrab
Earlier this year, UMO won the Klarspråkspriset (Clear Language Prize) awarded by the Swedish Language Council to authorities that use “clear and understandable” language in their work.
The films are still available to watch on UMO's website.