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Policy Violations, Oh my!

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

A few of my life drawings were rejected / banned from Facebook and Instagram. You ready to see one? Hold on to your seat! Scroll down....

I know.....very edgy! Obviously, I'm kidding. It’s been two years since Facebook agreed to rethink its stance on acceptable nudity. Photographer Spencer Tunick, organized a photoshoot outside Facebook offices to challenge their policies. The algorithm was banning users and artists images of even ancient Roman statues. It looked like Facebook was going to make an effort to improve. Geneva’s Museum of Art and History had even tried to promote their show, César et le Rhône in a Facebook ad. The ad featured Vénus d’Arles, a statue of a semi-nude and Statue de captive, a bronze depicting a nude man. The museum received a message from Facebook: “We don’t allow ads that depict nudity, even if it isn’t sexual in nature. This includes the use of nudity for artistic or educational purposes.” Here is Facebook’s policy around nudity as of today: Policy Rationale "We restrict the display of nudity or sexual activity because some people in our community may be sensitive to this type of content. Additionally, we default to removing sexual imagery to prevent the sharing of non-consensual or underage content. Restrictions on the display of sexual activity also apply to digitally created content unless it is posted for educational, humorous, or satirical purposes.

Our nudity policies have become more nuanced over time. We understand that nudity can be shared for a variety of reasons, including as a form of protest, to raise awareness about a cause, or for educational or medical reasons. Where such intent is clear, we make allowances for the content. For example, while we restrict some images of female breasts that include the nipple, we allow other images, including those depicting acts of protest, women actively engaged in breast-feeding, and photos of post-mastectomy scarring. For images depicting visible genitalia or the anus in the context of birth and after-birth moments or health-related situations we include a warning label so that people are aware that the content may be sensitive."

Here is the last sentence on what is acceptable: "We also allow photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depicts nude figures." The National Coalition Against Censorship wrote: “Images of the human body have been a central subject of art for centuries,” NCAC writes. “Nevertheless, Instagram, the most popular platform for artists who share their work online, and Facebook both ban photographic representations of the body.”

I do get it. There are a ton of predatory characters out there. And Facebook should stay on high alert to protect vulnerable peoples and populations. But at the same time, you’d think by now they could tell the difference between an innocent charcoal drawing and porn? As Facebook continues to increase in power they need to be accountable for bad policies. Especially policies that limit freedom of speech and creative expression.

Lest we throw the proverbial naked baby out with the bathwater!


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