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Kalle Benallie

Indian Country Today 

While trying to find a Halloween costume on Pinterest, users can report culturally insensitive costumes starting Thursday.

Since 2016, Pinterest prohibited advertisements for culturally appropriated Halloween costumes. But its new product and policy update is allowing “pinners” to flag posts that are culturally insensitive, especially for Indigenous people, leading up to Oct. 31.

"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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When users search for a specific costume, like a Day of the Dead costume, a visible pin will show advice from experts and Pinterest employee groups on how to respectfully and thoughtfully celebrate Halloween.

Also, the new “ideas” feature, which helps improve the home feed, will not recommend culturally insensitive Halloween costume posts. Emails and notifications containing recommendations will be limited too.

“While Halloween may be celebrated a little differently this year, Pinterest wants to inspire people to celebrate – no matter how they do so – in a culturally appropriate way,” the company said. 

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Kalle Benallie, Navajo, is a reporter-producer at Indian Country Today's Phoenix bureau. Follow her on Twitter: @kallebenallie or email her at Benallie was once the opening act for a Cirque Du Soleil show in Las Vegas.

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