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28th December
2008
  

Tits at Facebook...

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Protests against Facebook's ban on breast feeding pictures

Facebook logoThe virtual nurse-in to protest Facebook's ban on breast-feeding photos has taken off, with hundreds hourly joining a group that crept toward 70,000 members Saturday evening.

A real-life, street protest drew fewer placards than photojournalists Saturday, with only a handful turning out to sing, chant and breast-feed in front of Facebook's California headquarters. A handful of peaceful pickets discreetly tucked away in a University Avenue plaza with placards reading Hey Facebook, Breast-feeding is not Obscene . A member of the Raging Grannies, the Midpeninsula activists who stage various theatrical protests, showed up to proclaim in song that our breasts aren't porn.

It's hard to say whether either demonstration will move Facebook executives to lift the site's prohibition of breasts displayed on members' profiles and albums. Facebook says the areola, the dark skin around the nipple, violates a policy on obscene, pornographic or sexually explicit material.

On their Facebook group site, which also serves as an open petition to the company, nursing advocates by Saturday evening had posted more than 10,000 wall comments, two dozen videos and nearly 3,000 photos of breast-feeding, while starting more than 1,500 discussion threads. Facebook, it seemed, was not removing them.

All this might not have happened had the social networking site simply answered Heather Farley's e-mail asking why the networking giant in October removed photos of her breast-feeding her baby. When she posted another photo and then received a letter threatening to delete her account, she went public.

Heather Farley, a self described avid user of Facebook with 200 online friends, said she doesn't know how far she'll pursue her protest. She doesn't want to lose her Facebook account, which is the primary way she keeps in touch with high school and college friends and is the place she and her husband post their family photos.

Still, she's blogged about her disputes with Facebook. And although the company still hasn't answered any of her electronic messages, she's now hearing from people worldwide.

 

4th January
2009
  

Offsite: Faceless Censors...


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A bit too in your Facebook

On the Saturday after Christmas the entrance to the headquarters in Palo Alto, California, of Facebook, the social networking site that has 140m users worldwide, was the venue for a supersized nativity scene as breastfeeding mothers gathered in protest. The so-called nurse-in was held in support of another young mother, Kelli Roman, whose profile picture had been removed by the Facebook moderator because it showed her suckling her baby.

Facebook’s spokesman, Barry Schnitt, says the censorship of Roman’s breastfeeding photo is part of its antinudity policy. He said: Breastfeeding is a natural and beautiful act and we’re very glad to know that it is so important to some mothers to share this experience with others on Facebook. We take no action on the vast majority of breastfeeding photos because they follow the site’s terms of use. Photos containing a fully exposed breast do violate those terms and may be removed. These policies are designed to ensure Facebook remains a safe, secure and trusted environment for all users, including the many children over the age of 13 who use the site. The photos we act on are almost exclusively brought to our attention by other users who complain.

Facebook also bans pictures showing nipple, areola or gluteal cleft (bum cleavage, as was). Of course, this policy has originated in the United States, where the flash of Janet Jackson’s nipple at the 2004 Super Bowl caused a national furore. Any child in Britain can get all the areolas he or she wants in the nation’s most popular daily newspaper.

I wonder how many people in Facebook HQ sit on the working committee on nipple exposure. When exactly does a natural and beautiful act become something that endangers the moral wellbeing of 13-year-olds?

...Read full article

I don't normally sign petitions, but in this case...

See article from guardian.co.uk by Victoria Coren

More than 100,000 people have now signed an online petition, protesting against the Facebook ban on photographs of women breast-feeding.

Clicking join this group on a Facebook petition page is too easy to carry any weight. People do it for fun, or to pass the time, or by mistake. Large numbers don't make the issue important or newsworthy. One hundred thousand people have clicked to register their disapproval of the breast-feeding photo ban, but 300,000 have clicked I want my 90's Nickelodeon back.

The breast-feeding petitioners are obviously right, though. What an exasperating, stupid, misguided ban. It comes under the general rule of no fully exposed breasts . Presumably, the person responsible is one of those who can't look at a nipple, even when it's waiting to feed a baby, without giggling, pointing and making honking noises.

Whoever ruled that a feeding breast would violate the rules on obscene, pornographic or sexually explicit material needs, rather than banning them, to look at as many as possible, until he morphs gradually back from Sid James into someone who recognises an innocent, sexless human function that a proud mother might like to record in her online baby album.

 

13th January
2009
  

Update: Xtra Censorship...

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Gay magazine faces Facebook censorship

Xtra coverCensors at Facebook social networking site have removed the cover image of the Sep 11, 2008 issue of the Canadian gay magazine, Xtra, with only a vague explanation: Facebook was trying to protect children from viewing the image.

Julia Garro is the associate editor of the Toronto gay and lesbian newspaper. She uploads each issue's cover image to the Friends of Xtra Facebook group.

But this week, she received a message from Facebook, warning her that one image had been deleted from the Friends of Xtra group:

Facebook does not allow photos that attack an individual or group, or that contain nudity, drug use, violence, or other violations of the Terms of Use. These policies are designed to ensure Facebook remains a safe, secure and trusted environment for all users, including the many children who use the site.

Facebook declined to answer Xtra.ca's repeated attempts for an interview, so we are unable to clarify how the sight of naked breasts might create an unsafe environment for youth.

The social-networking site recently came under fire for deleting pictures of women breastfeeding their children. Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt told the New York Times that the company has no plans to change their strict no-nudity policy: Certainly we can agree that there is context where nudity is not obscene, but we are reviewing thousands of complaints a day.Whether it's obscene, art or a natural act — we'd rather just leave it at nudity and draw the line there.

Worse yet, there's no transparency in Facebook's decision-making process. Facebook typically refuses to elaborate or engage in discussion after it censors an image.

 

 

24th May
2009
  

Offsite: No Tits at Facebook...

An insight into Facebook's censorship of flagged content

Facebook logoCensors at Facebook have developed semiformal policies like the Fully Exposed Butt Rule, the Crack Rule and the Nipple Rule. In this photo there's no visible areola, he decides, so it stays. After delivering a verdict on 75 of the 438,848 outstanding photos flagged by Facebook users—buff guy soaping up in the shower (OK); girl blowing an epic cloud of pot smoke (he deletes it); an underage user drinking from two liquor bottles at once (ditto)—Axten is off to a meeting. It's just another day at the office of the world's fastest-growing social-networking site.

Axten is one of 150 people Facebook employs to keep the site clean—out of a total head count of 850. Facebook describes these staffers as an internal police force, charged with regulating users' decorum, hunting spammers and working with actual law-enforcement agencies to help solve crimes. Part hall monitors, part vice cops, these employees are key weapons in Facebook's efforts to maintain its image as a place that's safe for corporate advertisers.

It's a tricky job: by insisting that users sign up under real names and refrain from posting R-rated photos, Facebook hopes to widen its user base to include professionals, but it's aware that heavy-handed censorship could upset its existing members.

...Read full article

 

29th May
2009
  

Update: Facing up to Insensitive Censorship...

Facebook censor breast cancer awareness pictures.

Facebook logoAfter having a mastectomy, Sharon Adams decided to raise awareness of breast cancer by posting photographs of her scar on Facebook.

They were accompanied by a description of the mother of four's fight against the disease and encouragement from her for other women to go for regular check-ups.

But within a day, the social networking site removed the photos after describing them as sexual and abusive.

The action triggered a wave of protest, with nearly 900 people joining an online group calling for the ban to be lifted. Supporters set up a site called Get Sharon Adams' Pictures Back on Facebook for Breast Cancer , which attracted support from across the world.

I put these pictures out on Facebook to put a message out to women - check your breasts regularly and do not ever be ashamed of a mastectomy, said Miss Adams, 45, yesterday: For Facebook to claim they were sexual and abusive was absurd. Facebook has online groups about sexual positions and some groups which are bordering on racist - but they ban this.

Facebook has admitted that it made a mistake. A spokesman said: Our user operations team reviews thousands of reported photos a day and may occasionally remove something-that doesn't actually violate our policies. This is what happened here. We apologise.

 

15th February
2010
  

Update: Pig's Nipples at Facebook...

Hey Facebook, Breastfeeding is Not Obscene!

Suckling PigsFacebook routinely deletes from its site photos of breastfeeding. It has labelled them obscene and pornographic. It says that it has rules for what is allowed on its site, but its careless actions show it does not.

Facebook's clueless manner of censoring is not just pointless but harmful. There are other ways to deal with unwanted material than by immature, arrogant, and foolish removal of what one doesn't like, especially when photos of breastfeeding are claimed to harm children, a claim Facebook has made for years.

Here is a recent photo Facebook removed. Could Facebook have a bad case of nipplephobia?

Based on article from theotherpaper.com

A charge led by Facebook administrators to delete pictures of breast-feeding moms from its pages may land the social media site in the middle of a class action lawsuit.

There have been rumblings since last December. A lot of people are really eager to call Facebook to task and we're considering whether a class action lawsuit will be viable, said Stephanie Muir, a Canadian administrator for the Facebook group, Hey Facebook, Breastfeeding is Not Obscene! We want to hit them in the pocketbook so they'll actually pay attention. Facebook is getting away with something they would not be able to get away with outside the virtual world. It's basically discrimination.

Facebook fired a warning shot recently to show it's serious about taking down the group's page by deleting Muir's personal page as well.

The group is still there. And I have created a different account for myself, said Muir. But everything I previously had is gone, including every single post I've ever made.

Muir said Facebook initially told the group they were in copyright violation and that's why they were going to be removed: One of our administrators in Scotland e-mailed an inquiry and the response said, 'We're sorry, our message was in error. It's not a copyright violation, it's nudity and explicit sexual content that your group has been removed, They said in their statement it wasn't the breast-feeding, it was the nipples that were the problem. They're very inconsistent, which is a great source of irritation. They have changed their story a number of times.

We're going to continue to keep a strong presence . It's still a mystery to me how anyone could feel so strongly to interfere with a community of a quarter of a million people. You know, you have options; if you see a breast-feeding woman (or her picture), you can either harass her or you can use your neck and swivel your head in the other direction. We ultimately just want them to leave breast-feeding pictures alone.

 

16th April
2010
  

Update: The Mean Face of Facebook...

Social networking website takes issue with breastfeeding

kate hansen gallery What was supposed to be images celebrating pregnancy and motherhood created by a Courtenay artist are now considered hateful, threatening or obscene by one of largest social networking sites in the world.

Mother and artist Kate Hansen recently created a series of portraits called The Madonna Child Project — images which feature different mothers and babies cuddling their babies while breastfeeding and bottle feeding.

Hansen posted some of the images in a figurative art group on Facebook and discovered the portraits were being deleted around late March.

Hansen noted she initially posted images in groups of three, and all images got deleted. She inquired with the Facebook group administrator, who assured her she had no reason to delete the images. Hansen continued to repost the images, and soon after, found they were being continually deleted from the site.

Last week, she received an e-mail from The Facebook Team noting: you posted an item that violated our terms of use, and this item has been removed. Among other things, content that is hateful, threatening or obscene is not allowed, nor is content that attacks an individual or group. Continued misuse of Facebook's features could result in your account being disabled.

During a recent interview with CBC Radio, which contacted a Facebook representative, Hansen said the social networking site representative noted they supposedly do not delete breastfeeding images.

She said the entire incident has made her question the overall topic of breastfeeding in society, and the public perception of the act. At least it's gotten people talking about it, noted Hansen: I will continue to post images and risk my account being deleted; the risk is worth it, she added.

 

11th August
2010
  

Update: No Liberty at Facebook...

Facebook takes down topless Statue of Liberty picture

statue of liberty go toplessGoTopLess.org is calling for a public protest after an image at the organization's Facebook page depicting the Statue of Liberty with bare breasts was removed by Facebook staff. The disputed image was a photo of a painting by GoTopless member Donna Grabow.

The incident began when GoTopLess president Nadine Gary received an e-mail from Facebook staff on July 18 explaining the reason for the photo's removal. It read, in part:

You uploaded a picture to 'NEW YORK National Go Topless Day: A March for Women's Equal Rights! AUG 22 that violates our Terms of Use, and this picture has been removed. Facebook does not allow photos that attack an individual or group, or that contain nudity, drug use, violence, or other violations of the Terms of Use.

Brigitte Boisselier said:

I'm asking all my friends on Facebook and those who believe in equal rights for men and women to post the picture that was taken down, Boisselier said. Some frustrated individuals can't see a nipple without freaking out or feeling offended, but we've already had enough discrimination against the female body. I'm asking all women on Facebook to stand for equal topless rights by posting this photo to their own pages. And I'm also asking all men who can appreciate a female body without feeling guilty to do the same.

The female chest is beautiful and children shouldn't be told it's sinful to look at it. That sort of repression causes frustration and guilt that they will experience as adults, which is such a ridiculous waste. Bare female breasts are seen on all European beaches at this time of year, but as far as I know, incidence of rape and other sexually violent incidents is lower in Europe than in America.

Artist Grabow agrees that Facebook's action was discriminatory and wrong.

Censorship of this painting denies freedom of speech and expression and reflects American prudishness, she said. What's funny is that the Statue of Liberty was a gift from the French government, and all the French people I know smile when they see this feminized painting. In fact, Europeans just laugh when they learn that Facebook is censoring innocent images like this one. After all, images of nude statues are displayed everywhere else without protest, including in school books.

 

28th November
2010
  

Update: Scarred by Facebook Censorship...

British woman allowed to post images of scars to raise breast cancer awareness

Facebook logo Social networking site Facebook is to allow photographs of a woman who had surgery for breast cancer after it removed them from her profile.

The pictures of Anna Antell from Oxfordshire, were initially deemed to be nudity and taken down.

Facebook now says it supports her right to share her experience and the images of her post-op scars can be published.

Ms Antell, who said it was brilliant news , will again upload the images which she hopes will raise awareness. One of the pictures which was removed depicts Ms Antell covering one breast while showing the scar tissue of the removed breast.

She said: I think it is really good they have realised that it is a valid thing; me showing a bare shoulder and a scar is not offensive.

Update: Acquitted

14th March 2011. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

A breast cancer survivor's Facebook page has been blocked after she published a photo of her reconstructed breasts following her operation.

Melissa Tullett put the picture on the website after she had a double mastectomy. The social networking site blocked her page and removed the image because it said it broke its rules on nudity. Ms Tullett said she had only intended to offer encouragement to fellow breast cancer sufferers.

It was to show other women that after such an ordeal you can come out of it with your dignity and your womanhood again, and that it's not all frightening. They [Facebook] just told me that I'd uploaded a photo that violated their terms of use and that they were deleting the photo. But they didn't actually tell me they were disabling my account .

Ms Tullett's page has since been reactivated, but she has been told not to repost the picture.

 

6th January
2011
  

Update: The Leaky B@@b...

Facebook again get offended by breast feeding pictures

leaky boob logo It's been a hectic start to the year for mom Jessica Martin-Weber, founder and editor of the breastfeeding support group The Leaky B@@b.

The group, which offers a space on Facebook for around 5,000 breastfeeding moms to ask questions and offer advice and support, was deleted over the weekend. Facebook claimed that it had violated their Terms of Service, insinuating that breastfeeding photos posted on the group's page were obscene.

In response to the deletion, breastfeeding supporters, both former members of the group and others, jumped into action, creating two pages on Facebook, Bring Back the Leaky Boob and TLB Support, which together gained more than 10,000 fans.

Martin-Weber released a statement urging Facebook not only to restore the group's page, but to stop considering breastfeeding and any other material and photos related to breast health, obscene.

Shortly thereafter, Facebook reinstated the group's page after 'offending' photos  and pages were deleted by Facebook, also vaguely claiming that they were in violation of the company's Terms of Service.

Shortly after Facebook has once again deleted The Leaky B@@b – as well as the Bring Back the Leaky Boob group that had formed in response to its deletion!

But again later restored The Leaky B@@b and the page is currently still available.

 

21st February
2011
  

Update: Deviant From Their Own Guidelines...

Facebook ban all sex related content even if it is not pornographic and is following the published guidelines

 collared logoCollared is a series of gay BDSM club nights and social events, and an associated online community

Last week Facebook wrote to Collared to confirm that it was actively enforcing a total ban on all fetish and BDSM content and that all fetish related groups and pages on its site will be subject to deletion without exception.

The Collared page was deleted by Facebook following a complaint from a site user.

The deletion angered and mystified many Collared members and supporters. As a community non-profit organization with a well-known and proven focus on safety and socialization the Facebook page was used merely as a means of communication between members. There was no explicit imagery or sexual content of any kind and the page was secret . The Page strictly followed the Facebook Terms at and especially condition (3.7):

  • You will not post content that: is hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.

Facebook explained that: Any content that is primarily related to sexual activities is deemed to be in breach whether or not the there are any overtly explicit photos on the Facebook page . This applies whether the content is a closed or open group and whatever the nature of the sexual activity. When it comes to fetish content this is generally regarded as always sexual rather than social in nature and removed from the site.

This apparent policy should concern the entire fetish and BDSM community as it signals a discriminatory and inconsistent application of an unethical policy.

However following extensive communication with senior staff of the company Collared has successfully lobbied the Internet giant to review the ban. Facebook is currently engaged in a wide ranging internal dialogue to clarify the prohibition and to determine whether a total ban is justified. Collared will be consulted throughout this process. Facebook has reiterated that the review process will not necessarily result in a reversal of the ban. Instead it may focus on creating greater consistency, clarity and transparency in the enforcement of the prohibition.

 

22nd February
2011
  

Update: Facebook Put in their Place...

New York Academy of Art fires off excellent attack on Facebook censors

assael steven simo The New York Academy of Art wrote on their blog:

As the Academy makes its first bold forays into the expanding worlds of social media, we find ourselves reeling from a recent exchange with facebook, and on the edge of an interesting debate.

Just today, facebook alerted me that an image which violates their Terms of Use was removed from the New York Academy of Art's facebook page. A drawing by Steven Assael is in an exhibition curated by the Academy and shown at the Eden Rock Gallery in St. Barth's.

As an institution of higher learning with a long tradition of upholding the art world's traditional values and skills, we, the Graduate School of Figurative Art, find it difficult to allow facebook to be the final arbiter -- and online curator -- of the artwork we share with the world.

If facebook is a new online Salon de Paris, where a faceless group of curators determine what artwork the public should see, well then please consider our website the Salon de Refuse's!

And so we now ask: How is FACEBOOK controlling ART?

An Unwritten policy that sometimes allows drawings?

See article from ndtv.com

So what happened?

Facebook now says it made a mistake. While the company bans nude photographs, its representatives say the company has an unwritten policy that allows drawings or sculptures of nudes.

We count many amateur -- and some professional -- artists among our employees, and we're thrilled that so many artists share their work on Facebook, Simon Axten, a Facebook spokesman, claimed in a statement: In this case, we congratulate the artist on his lifelike portrayal that, frankly, fooled our reviewers. [yeah yeah!] Each member of our investigations team reviews thousands of pieces of reported content every day and, of course, we occasionally make a mistake. We're sorry for the confusion here and we encourage the artist to repost his work.

But this sounds like bollox from from facebook:

A number of other figurative artists say they too have had their work removed by Facebook, and in some cases had their accounts blocked. They say they feel that Facebook is taking aim at their work and accuse it of censorship.

It seems like they have really gone after artists, said John Wellington, an artist in New York who is a graduate of the academy. The images they are taking down are clearly paintings. After one of his paintings was taken down recently, Wellington said he deleted from Facebook all the images that he had uploaded that showed a nipple, for fear that his account would be disabled.

Richard T. Scott, another graduate of the academy, who lives in Paris, said some images he had uploaded were also removed. He said he knew of more than 50 paintings, including some entered into an online contest of figurative drawings, that were deleted by Facebook. Scott said he was particularly concerned because Facebook had allowed him to showcase his work and to be discovered by galleries and collectors. For figurative painters, Facebook has been a democratizing force, and it has been pivotal for my career, he said.

 

23rd February
2011
  

Update: Censorship Rules that Facebook Knocked Up...

Facebook ban partially nude pregnant profile picture

claudia schiffer vogueA mum-to-be photographed in Demi Moore's famous naked pregnancy pose was left 'stunned' when Facebook banned it from her profile.

Angela Hurst got a professional snapper to set up the tasteful shot in which she covered her modesty.

Angela was so proud of the result she made it her profile picture. Just three days later Facebook removed it because its terms of use bar nudity .

Husband David said: The picture's lovely. This is a huge over-reaction.

 

17th April
2011
  

Update: About Face...

Facebook censors harangue acclaimed photographer

reneejacobs advertFacebook prudes have picked on acclaimed photographer Renee Jacobs over lesbian imagery.

The issue arose over an advert for an exhibition. This showed two topless women embracing in a modest pose.

Facebook's Terms of Service prevent the posting of anything that is pornographic, contains nudity or is inappropriately sexual.

Jacobs gave the following Statement regarding her removal from the Facebook to SheWired:

Well, we all know that there's been much worse material on Facebook. It's hard to see how this is anything but discriminatory. As a photographer with a background in law, I've tried to adhere strictly to Facebook's Terms of Service.

I believe they have the right to be as prudish and ridiculous as they want, as long as it's applied evenhandedly. This--however--is blatantly discriminatory. The photo does not in any way have nudity (you can barely see the side of one breast), it's not pornographic (not even under the Supreme Court's nebulous standards of I know it when I see it......

Jacobs, who routinely censors work she puts up on Facebook with strategically placed black bars, is hoping, demanding actually, that Facebook reinstates her original profile, she told SW:

I had more than 1,700 friends and business contacts. If Facebook wants to be taken seriously as a place of business and networking for adults, they need to address this issue.

 

20th April
2011
  

Update: Art Censors...

Facebook censors 19th century art

origin of the worldA Frenchman is suing Facebook for severing his account after he posted a painting of nude woman as his profile picture.

He used an image of a 19th century oil by Gustave Coubet called The Origin of the World on the social networking site.

But he claims he missed messages and social contact from his 800 Facebook friends when the page was taken down on the eve of his birthday on February 27.

He is now demanding the site compensate him in an substantial manner for barring his access.

The unnamed man's lawyer Stephane Cottineau said repeated emails to the California based company demanding the page be reinstated had also gone unanswered.

 

7th May
2011
  

Update: Censored Lest Tongues Wag...

Facebook ban kissing image for promotion of the movie, Attenberg

attenbergA Swedish film distributor's attempt to use an image of two women kissing in a Facebook advertising campaign has been rejected by the ever censorial website.

Sweden-based TriArt Film was hoping to use Facebook to publicise the Greek film Attenberg , currently showing in Swedish cinemas.

Our ad for Attenberg, using the poster image of two women touch tongues, has been DISAPPROVED, TriArt said in a statement on its own Facebook page. TriArt went on to suggest that Facebook appears to have a double standard when it comes to who can be seen locking lips in advertisements running on the site, explaining that their ad for the film Tre , featuring a male-female couple engaged in a deep kiss, was approved.

We're confused, TriArt CEO Eva Esseen Arndorff said in a statement.

 

9th May
2011
  

Update: Feeding Hysteria...

More Facebook nonsense about banning breast feeding pictures

happy-nursing-baby Breast-feeding advocates are angry that Facebook has once again removed photos of mothers nursing their babies.

In the latest ludicrous censorship, last month Facebook removed breast-feeding images from Earth Mama Angel Baby's Facebook page.

Babies get hungry, explained a post on Earth Mama's website. And breasts feed babies. We don't consider either photo obscene. Each shows a human baby having lunch.

Peggy O'Mara, editor of Mothering magazine, decried the move in a lengthy blog post that called for readers to post pictures of themselves nursing on their personal Facebook pages if you agree with me that breast-feeding is normal and not obscene :

 

28th July
2011
  

Update: A Little Censorship...

Facebook censor classic album cover

Nevermind NirvanaNirvana's Nevermind album made waves when it was released in 1991 because of its cover art which featured a naked baby boy floating in a pool, has run into censorship yet again, this time on its Facebook page.

After product shots of the album (which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this fall) were uploaded to Nirvana's Facebook page, the social networking company removed the photo citing a violation of its Terms of Use:

Facebook does not allow photos that attack an individual or group, or that contain nudity, drug use, violence or other violations of the Terms of Use.

 

29th July
2011
  

Updated: A Little Censorship...

Facebook censor classic album cover

Nevermind NirvanaNirvana's Nevermind album made waves when it was released in 1991 because of its cover art which featured a naked baby boy floating in a pool, has run into censorship yet again, this time on its Facebook page.

After product shots of the album (which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this fall) were uploaded to Nirvana's Facebook page, the social networking company removed the photo citing a violation of its Terms of Use:

Facebook does not allow photos that attack an individual or group, or that contain nudity, drug use, violence or other violations of the Terms of Use.

Update: Nevermind

29th July 2011. See article from guardian.co.uk

As is usually the case with Facebook censorship, once their ill-considered censorship is rumbled they they rapidly change their mind and say it was alright all along.

And So Nirvana's Nevermind album cover is welcomed back on Facebook.

 

8th October
2011
  

Update: Nothing's Shocking...

Except to Facebook who censor Jane's Addiction album cover art

Nothings Shocking Janes Addiction The band Jane's Addiction posted the cover for their 1988 album Nothing's Shocking on their official Facebook page, along with a few other classic images from their history. But Facebook apparently took offence to the Nothing's Shocking cover, which features two naked ladies, and removed it.

The band quickly reposted the image, albeit an edited version with Facebook logos covering the girls' modesties, along with a post that said:

In 1988, nine of the 11 leading record chains refused to carry Nothing's Shocking because of its cover. (In 2011, Facebook joined them.)

 

27th October
2011
  

Update: A Picture Paints a Poignant Word...

Frenchman sues Facebook for taking down his account over a classic nude art posting

lorigine du monde by gustav courbetA Frenchman is suing Facebook under human rights laws for deleting his account after he posted a famous painting of nude woman as his profile picture.

The father-of-three used an image of an explicit 19th century oil by Gustave Courbet called l'Origine du Monde (The Origin Of The World) on the social networking site.

But he claims he missed messages and social contact from his 800 Facebook friends when the page was taken down.

He has now launched legal action in a Paris court demanding the site pay him £ 18,000 in damages for barring his access.

 

4th November
2011
  

Update: Breast Cancer Awareness Body Painting Project...

Kindly publicised by Facebook's censorship department

bcabpp Ellen Gondola had breast cancer. One day, years later, she stood topless in an artist's studio and allowed her chest to be covered in paint, her cancer scars blanketed with bamboo and butterflies. She'd never felt so beautiful.

But Facebook called it pornography, inappropriate nudity, a violation of the terms of use. The social networking giant took her photo down, and the encouraging comments beneath it.

Twenty-four other breast cancer survivors have posed topless like she did. Most of their images have been taken down, too, creator and photographer Michael Colanero said, citing puritanical resistance from Facebook users who flagged the images as inappropriate.

Gondola had joined a cause, the Fort Lauderdale-based Breast Cancer Awareness Body Painting Project, which has a group page on Facebook. Now she's part of a second cause, the Facebook No-Censor Petition.

 

9th November
2011
  

Updated: Faced Down...

Facebook removes pages of bad taste jokes

Facebook logoFacebook have removed pages dedicated to bad taste jokes about rape and sexual violence.

Change.org has been campaigning against the pages for 2 months, and raised a petition of 186,000 signatures against the pages. In addition they ran a twitter campaign and a Facebook page of their own.

One of the target pages, now removed was called : You know she's playing hard to get when... and featured wisecracks such as:

  •  Don't You Hate it When You Punch a Slut in the Mouth and They Suck It

After removing the pages, Facebook's rep told AllFacebook that they take things seriously, and reminded everyone that reporting a Page is how to get offending content reviewed and also said that they've made the social reporting tool totally much more awesome because they care and stuff.

Update: Tagged as Humour

9th November 2011. See article from bbc.co.uk

Facebook has removed several rape joke pages from its social network. However, controversial postings may remain if administrators add a tag stating they are humorous or satire.

Facebook told the BBC:

We take reports of questionable and offensive content very seriously. However, we also want Facebook to be a place where people can openly discuss issues and express their views, while respecting the rights and feelings of others.

Groups or pages that express an opinion on a state, institution, or set of beliefs - even if that opinion is outrageous or offensive to some - do not by themselves violate our policies. These online discussions are a reflection of those happening offline, where conversations happen freely.

The statement's formal language contrasts with the firm's previous comments. In August it said: Just as telling a rude joke won't get you thrown out of your local pub, it won't get you thrown off Facebook.

 

4th December
2011
  

Update: Effin' Censors...

Facebook bans the Irish village of Effin claiming that it is an offensive word

Facebook logoA Limerick woman is leading the battle to have her home village of Effin recognized by social network site Facebook.

Ann Marie Kennedy is taking on the giant corporation which has deemed the village name of Effin to be offensive.

She has also failed in an attempt to launch a Facebook campaign based on a Please get my hometown Effin recognised page on the website. It came back with an error message saying 'offensive,' Kennedy told the Irish Independent.

I would like to be able to put Effin on my profile page and so would many other Effin people around the world to proudly say that they are from Effin, Co Limerick, but it won't recognize that. It keeps coming up as Effingham, Illinois; Effingham, New Hampshire; and it gives suggestions of other places.

Kennedy has vowed to carry on her battle until Effin gains official status on Facebook.

...Read the full article

 

10th January
2012
  

Update: Infant Censors...

Facebook again caught making crap censorship decisions about breast feeding pictures

express yourself mums logoFacebook has again apologised for crap and arbitrary censorship after it deleted a page showing two little girls pretending to breastfeed their dolls.

Express Yourself Mums, an NHS-backed breastfeeding website, discovered its group had been removed on for a supposed policy violation .

The previous day co-owner Sharon Blackstone had posted a picture of her seven-year-old daughter Maya playing with her doll. She said:

After giving her doll a naming ceremony, Maya told me that her baby needed to be fed. As she's only ever seen me breastfeed her little sister, it was the most natural thing in the world for her to pretend to do it the same way.

Like many mums, I got out my phone and took a picture because I thought it was a sweet moment. I shared it with the 600 other mothers on our Facebook page because I thought it was something they'd like to see. After all, don't millions of people post cute pictures of their kids on Facebook?

A few minutes later, my business partner Carly Silver also posted a similar shot of her seven-year-old daughter Izzy cradling her baby doll in her arms.

Last Friday afternoon Express Yourself Mums discovered the page (with 600 fans) had been removed. The reason given was a vague list of restrictions including nudity or obscenity.

Under pressure to reinstate the page from more than 400 women who formed a campaigning group, Facebook has now apologised for the error and reinstated the page. Facebook says any complaint is reviewed by its operation team, which then makes the decision about whether to remove the images or close down the group. A Facebook spokesman said:The group was removed in error. It will be reinstated, and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.

[Presumably the Facebook censorship system is as cheap as possible and gives low grade 'operators' minimal time to make decisions which turn out to be arbitrary. I guess these are re-considered by more senior censors if a fuss is kicked up. One has to wonder how many people and businesses suffer from equally crap decisions but cannot organise sufficient press coverage to get Facebook to reconsider].

 

7th February
2012
  

Update: Stigmatising Breastfeeding...

Worldwide protests against Facebook's censorship of breastfeeding pictures

IrelandProtesters assembled at more than 30 locations worldwide at 10am yesterday to oppose Facebook's policy regarding the removal of images of breastfeeding from the social networking website.

Irish protesters stood their ground for two hours to highlight the fact Facebook is removing breast feeding photos. Moreover, parents argued that Facebook's censorship reflects a disturbing trend stigmatising breastfeeding in public.

Chris Finn, a representative from Friends of Breastfeeding, an advocacy group in Ireland. said:

Some might ask why would a mother want to post a picture of herself breastfeeding on Facebook. And the only question I can ask you back is, 'Why wouldn't she'?

We're here to stand up and say that our nation's attitude towards breastfeeding needs to change. Why? Because breastfeeding is just the biologically normal way to feed a baby, and the only way to make a change is if we see breastfeeding.

Facebook said that its terms prohibit nudity. Therefore, images containing a fully exposed breast are deemed to violate those terms of user safety. A statement said:

These policies are based on the same standards that apply to television and print media. We agree that breastfeeding is natural and we are very glad to know that it is important for mothers, including the many mothers who work at Facebook, to share their experience with others on the site.

 

10th February
2012
  

Update: Three Disgraces...

Facebook censorship of art and fun at the Louvre

art vs pornography Recently I posted a sublime, cheeky photo on Facebook. The reaction from my friends was swift: Everyone loved it! Within just a couple of hours it had been liked by more than 100 people and shared by 50. It was very quickly going viral and from past experience, I know that within three days it would have been liked and shared by more than 1,000 people.

The photo was taken at the Louvre in Paris. Four women with their backs to the camera are standing in front of Henri Regnault's Three Graces -- a painting which features three nude women. In the art gallery three of the four women have stripped off their clothes to the point where their bottoms are showing. It's very tasteful, and very funny. People described it as delicious, delightful, hilarious. Friends in the art community all across Canada loved it. Reaction from francophone friends was overwhelming -- the French, of course, have such a strong joie de vivre and appreciation of the finer things in life.

You can imagine my surprise when I logged onto Facebook the next morning and found the picture had been removed due to its violating community standards. Whose community? Whose standards?

...Read the full article

Offsite: And another disgrace

See article from news.pinkpaper.com

lhomme imageA Facebook group which posts daily pictures of men to gay subscribers has been partly restricted by the social networking site over claims of indecency.

L'Homme du Jour, which has almost 5,000 members, today had administrative access blocked for three days because they posted the image you can see here in this story.

The picture, by photographer Antonio Bezerra, may have been blocked by the site's automated system because it has hints of pubic hair on display, although this has not been confirmed.

...Read the full article

 

19th February
2012
  

Updated: Facebook Censorship Rules Revealed...

Facebook first line censors based where labour is cheap

facebook summery rules Amine Derkaoui, a 21-year-old Moroccan man, is pissed at Facebook. Last year he spent a few weeks training to screen illicit Facebook content through an outsourcing firm, for which he was paid a measly $1 an hour. He's still fuming over it.

It's humiliating. They are just exploiting the third world, Derkaoui complained in a thick French accent over Skype just a few weeks after Facebook filed their record $100 billion IPO. As a sort of payback, Derkaoui gave us some internal documents, which shed light on exactly how Facebook censors the dark content it doesn't want you to see, and the people whose job it is to make sure you don't.

Whenever Facebook deletes an image it deems objectionable, it refers the offending user to its rambling Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. That policy is vague when it comes to content moderation, and probably intentionally so. If users knew exactly what criteria was being used to judge their content, they could hold Facebook to them. It would be clear what Facebook was choosing to censor according to its policies, and what amounted to arbitrary censorship.

Well, now we know Facebook's exact standards. Derkaoui provided us with a copy of the astonishingly specific guidelines Facebook dictates to content moderators. It's the public's first look at exactly what Facebook considers beyond the pale, and what sketchy content it won't allow in videos, images and wall posts. The document is essentially a map of Facebook's moral terrain.

The content moderation team Derkaoui was a member of uses a web-based tool to view a stream of pictures, videos and wall posts that have been reported by users. They either confirm the flag, which deletes the content, unconfirm it, which lets it stay, or escalate it to a higher level of moderation, which turns the content in question over to Facebook employees.

Example rules defining content for which abuse reports are confirmed and the content is taken down:

  1. Any OBVIOUS sexual activity, even if naked parts are hidden from view by hands, clothes or other objects. Cartoons/art included. Foreplay allowed (Kissing, groping, etc.). even for same sex (man-rnan/woman woman

  2. Naked private parts including female nipple bulges and naked butt cracks; male nipples are ok.

  3. Pixelated or black-barred content showing nudity or sexual activity as above.

...Read the full article

Update: For Example

19th February 2012. See article from telegraph.co.uk

lovers of naked snowThe Facebook page, Lovers Of Naked Snow , attracted more than 2,000 followers in the week after it was set up. But it was censored due to the revealing nature of one photograph.

Facebook sent notifications raising 'concerns' over one of the photographs. The page was taken down when the administrators didn't speedily repsond.

Lee Shaw, who also posted his picture on the site, said: It is such a shame that it has been closed down due to a few people not understanding the light-hearted context it was set up for.

A spokesman for Facebook declined to comment on the group itself but said content was removed if it was deemed to have broken the social network's rules. He added photos containing nudity violate Facebook's terms and will be taken down when reported.

But now we can be clear as to the reason. The photo was judged to have transgressed the Facebook prohibition on:

  1. Naked private parts including female nipple bulges and naked butt cracks; (male nipples are ok).

 

3rd March
2012

 Offsite Article: Outsourcing Facebook Censorship to Morocco...

An investigation finds that outsourcing censorship and moderation to Morocco and Mexico is cheap. And shock horror, the local workers aren't saddled with expensive nonsense like CRB vetting.

See article from telegraph.co.uk

 

27th March
2012
  

Update: A Kiss is Just a Kiss...

More cheap and crap censorship from Facebook

facebook visible cultura Facebook has come under fire again after a picture of two men kissing was removed from the site because it infringed publishing rules of posting images of a sexual or delicate nature.

The snap was uploaded by Madrid-based Visible Cultura LGTB to promote its Gay Arts

It was taken down for reportedly breaching censorship rules, which bar images of a political, sexual or other sensitive nature.

And as usual, when caught out making crap censorship decisions, Facebook said the image was removed in error and it has now been reinstated. A spokesperson said:

Upon investigation, we concluded the advertisement does not violate our guidelines and was removed in error. The ad is now running and we apologise for the inconvenience.

Visible Cultura LGTB posted a censored version of the image and the response:

Can a kiss between two men be inappropriate?

Until when are we going to put up with this Facebook nonsense? Are we really in the 21st century?

 

27th May
2012

 Update: Facebook Automatons...

Breast cancer recovery pictures offend Facebook's cheapo censors

joanne jackson banned on facebookJoanne Jackson had a photo session to commemorate winning her battle with the killer disease after having a mastectomy - and posted them on the social networking site.

But Facebook removed some of the images, which revealed her operation scar, for being offensive.

Joanne has been warned that further abusive breaches will result in her account being shut down.

Angry Joanne said:

There is nothing pornographic or explicit about these pictures. That was not the idea at all. I took breast cancer and the mastectomy in my stride and decided it wasn't going to stop me living my life. It wasn't going to define who I was, and it didn't make me any less attractive as a woman.

She has no idea who reported the pictures but the warning came out of the blue and lacked any hint of sensitivity. The message said:

Content you shared on Facebook has been removed because it violated Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. Shares that contain nudity, pornography and graphic sexual content are not permitted on Facebook. This serves as a warning. Additional violations may result in the termination of your account.

A Facebook spokesman confirmed that several images had been removed because they breached terms and conditions. He shamefully spouted that Facebook welcomed mastectomy pictures. ..BUT... said that some images may breach regulations.

 

15th June
2012

 Offsite Article: Climate of Censorship...

Australian political cartoonist gets suspended from Facebook for his nude depiction of PM Julia Gillard wearing a strap-on

See article from lpickering.net

 

24th June
2012

 Update: A Network of Censors...

Facebook speaks of its censorship procedures

Facebook logo Facebook have revealed some of their procedures used for responding to complaints about user posted content.

Facebook employs 4 teams based in Menlo Park, Austin, Dublin and Hyderabad. Facebook explained:

Reports of inappropriate content, which users can submit with just a couple of clicks, are directed to one of four support teams.

An Abusive Content Team handles spam and sexually explicit content. Meanwhile, a Safety Team handles threats of vandalism, graphic violence, credible threats of violence and illegal drug use. A Hate and Harassment Team handles, well, reports of hate speech and harassment. The team that handles hacked and imposter accounts is called the Access Team.

If found to be in violation of Facebook's policies, Statement of Rights and Responsibilities or Community Standards, the content is removed and its publisher warned. Facebook's support teams may also block users who post inappropriate content or ban them from specific features. A separate team handles appeals.

Sometimes content on Facebook violates not just the company's policies, but the law. Facebook says it will share reports with law enforcement when:

we have a good faith belief it is necessary to prevent fraud or other illegal activity, to prevent imminent bodily harm, or to protect ourselves and you from people violating our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

 

8th July
2012

 Update: Facebook Acts as Judge, Jury and Executioner...

Facebook condemned by Article 19 for rubbish censorship procedures that were exploited to help hide allegations of torture in Syria

article 19 logoFacebook has apologised after it incompetently deleted a free speech group's post on human rights abuses in Syria. The website removed a status update by Article 19, which campaigns for freedom of speech, that linked to a Human Rights Watch report detailing alleged torture in the Arab country.

Dr Agnes Callamard, the executive director of Article 19, accused Facebook of acting like judge, jury and executioner in the way it removes material from the website.

Facebook told the Guardian that the post was mistakenly removed after being reported as containing offensive content. A spokesman said:

The link was reported to Facebook. We assess such reports manually and because of the high volume, occasionally content that shouldn't be taken down is removed by mistake. We're sorry about this. The organisation concerned should try posting the link again.

Dr Agnes Callamard, the executive director of Article 19, was somewhat underwhelmed by Facebook's censorship procedure. She said:

The deletion shows the looming threat of private censorship. We commend Facebook for creating tools to report abuse, but if your post was wrongly deleted for any reason, there is no way to appeal. Facebook don't notify you before deleting a comment and they don't tell you why after they have. Facebook act like judge, jury and executioner.

Facebook is now widely recognised as a quasi-public space and as such has responsibilities when it comes to respecting free speech. They can't just delete content without some kind of transparent and accountable system. International law says that censorship is only acceptable when it is clearly prescribed, is for a legitimate aim -- such as for public health -- and is necessary in a democracy.

 

24th July
2012

 Update: Censors and Bullies...

Facebook ban advert for scary anti-bullying campaigner

scary guyAn anti-bullying campaigner's ad was banned by Facebook after his heavily-tattooed face was deemed offensive . The ad has attracted more than 10,000 people to join his profile.

Scary Guy (his legal name) gives talks on tackling hate, prejudice and bullying, and not judging on appearances. His is currently touring  Manchester and London schools.

Censors at Facebook told him the ad received negative feedback because his face was provocative . Adding: We take reports of questionable content very seriously.

 

29th July
2012

 Update: Facebook Sucks...

More nonsense Facebook censorship

facebook bannedAn American woman was banned from Facebook for posting an image of her five-year-old daughter pretending to breastfeed her two-year-old sister.

Lauren Ferrari said Facebook took down the image less than 24 hours after she posted and then banned her from the social network for a week, the KOMO reports.

The mother said Facebook told her she had violated community standards but the mother argued the images were not sexual and asked, What is sexual about breastfeeding?

Stefanie Thomas of Seattle Police Department's Internet Crimes Against Children said while the photo was not child pornography it was an example of poor parenting. She said people should think carefully about what they put online and warned that one an image goes online it is beyond their control:

There's no real way of actually getting that image off the internet. So that's something that this family, that these girls, are going to have to ultimately deal with.

 

11th September
2012

 Update: Nipplegate...

Facebook take down New Yorker cartoon over a couple of nipple dots in an Adam and Eve cartoon
mick setevens cartoon The New Yorker has a Facebook page for cartoons.

It got temporarily banned from Facebook for supposedly violating their community standards on Nudity and Sex, by posting this Mick Stevens cartoon.

The artist redrew the cartoon with a clothed Adam and Eve, but somehow it didn't quite work. Still, at least it kept the nutters of Facebook happy.

 

9th October
2012

 Offsite Article: Facebook Copyright Takedown: Justice or Injustice?...

An alleged copyright infringer has his fan page removed by Facebook. But the story highlights the lack of transparency in Facebook's policy regarding its handling of infringement claims.

See article from pdnpulse.com

 

22nd October
2012

 Update: Cosmetic Censorship...

Swiss newspaper shocked that Facebook prudery also applies to them

Gustave Courbet Origin of the WorldThe Swiss daily Tribune de Geneve has said that it had its Facebook account blocked after publishing a famous nude painting.

In a bid to illustrate an article on cosmetic surgery, the newspaper ran an image taken from Gustave Courbet's 1886 oil painting The Origin Of The World , which shows a reclining nude.

The newspaper, which described the article as very serious , said that the image was deleted by Facebook only hours after it was published.

 

27th November
2012

 Update: Elbowed Out...

Facebook shown to be unable to tell their arse from their elbows

Elbows or Nipples? The Facebook Page: Dedicated to Theories of the deep understanding of things describes itself as:

Random pictures - hopefully there'll be something that someone finds offensive.

And of course Facebook just had to rise to the bait re the bathtub picture.

They deleted the picture on the grounds that it violates Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities

 

17th May
2013

 Offsite Article: Bea Arthur's Boobs Got Us Booted From Facebook...

bea arthur naked It was an innocent story about the art market, that happened to include a nude image of everyone's favorite Golden Girl. Facebook disagreed. Brian Ries on an unjust ban.

See article from thedailybeast.com

 

22nd May
2013

 Update: Facebook Prudery Has Few Friends...

Facebook censors French protest against its censorship of nudity

facebook nude protest Day of Nude on Facebook , a French protest aimed at challenging Facebook's unnecessary censorship of photos was censored when Facebook took down the event page and suspended the accounts of some involved in the online demonstration.

Launched by French photographer Alain Bachellier, the Facebook event asked its 8,000-plus participants to publish a nude picture on Monday, Le Huffington Post reports. While some chose to post of a photo of their own creation, most instead shared copies of famous nude works of art.

Coinciding with the final day of the European Festival of Nude Photography, the Facebook event sought to fight against the ridiculous censorship that flouts the basic rules of our freedom of expression in the name of Puritanism or the moral rules of another age,

A spokesman for Facebook France told the Agence France-Presse that page was closed in the early afternoon.

Facebook authorizes users to mobilize around common causes, included cultural ones, but it can't authorize the cause itself to encourage users to disrespect their conditions of use.

 

22nd May
2013

 Update: Violence is Fine as Long as it's Against Men...

Feminists call on Facebook to censor 'hate speech' and violence against women

Facebook logo We, the undersigned, are writing to demand swift, comprehensive and effective action addressing the representation of rape and domestic violence on Facebook. Specifically, we call on you, Facebook, to take three actions:

  1. Recognize speech that trivializes or glorifies violence against girls and women as hate speech and make a commitment that you will not tolerate this content.

  2. Effectively train moderators to recognize and remove gender-based hate speech.

  3. Effectively train moderators to understand how online harassment differently affects women and men, in part due to the real-world pandemic of violence against women.

To this end, we are calling on Facebook users to contact advertisers whose ads on Facebook appear next to content that targets women for violence, to ask these companies to withdraw from advertising on Facebook until you take the above actions to ban gender-based hate speech on your site.

Specifically, we are referring to groups, pages and images that explicitly condone or encourage rape or domestic violence or suggest that they are something to laugh or boast about. Pages currently appearing on Facebook include Fly Kicking Sluts in the Uterus, Kicking your Girlfriend in the Fanny because she won't make you a Sandwich, Violently Raping Your Friend Just for Laughs, Raping your Girlfriend and many, many more. Images appearing on Facebook include photographs of women beaten, bruised, tied up, drugged, and bleeding, with captions such as This bitch didn't know when to shut up and Next time don't get pregnant.

These pages and images are approved by your moderators, while you regularly remove content such as pictures of women breastfeeding, women post-mastectomy and artistic representations of women's bodies. In addition, women's political speech, involving the use of their bodies in non-sexualized ways for protest, is regularly banned as pornographic, while pornographic content - prohibited by your own guidelines - remains. It appears that Facebook considers violence against women to be less offensive than non-violent images of women's bodies, and that the only acceptable representation of women's nudity are those in which women appear as sex objects or the victims of abuse. Your common practice of allowing this content by appending a [humor] disclaimer to said content literally treats violence targeting women as a joke.

The latest global estimate from the United Nations Say No UNITE campaign is that the percentage of women and girls who have experienced violence in their lifetimes is now up to an unbearable 70 percent. In a world in which this many girls and women will be raped or beaten in their lifetimes, allowing content about raping and beating women to be shared, boasted and joked about contributes to the normalisation of domestic and sexual violence, creates an atmosphere in which perpetrators are more likely to believe they will go unpunished, and communicates to victims that they will not be taken seriously if they report.

According to a UK Home Office Survey, one in five people think it is acceptable in some circumstances for a man to hit or slap his wife or girlfriend in response to her being dressed in sexy or revealing clothes in public. And 36 percent think a woman should be held fully or partly responsible if she is sexually assaulted or raped whilst drunk. Such attitudes are shaped in part by enormously influential social platforms like Facebook, and contribute to victim blaming and the normalisation of violence against women.

Although Facebook claims, not to be involved in challenging norms or censoring people's speech, you have in place procedures, terms and community guidelines that you interpret and enforce. Facebook prohibits hate speech and your moderators deal with content that is violently racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, and anti-Semitic every day. Your refusal to similarly address gender-based hate speech marginalizes girls and women, sidelines our experiences and concerns, and contributes to violence against us. Facebook is an enormous social network with more than a billion users around the world, making your site extremely influential in shaping social and cultural norms and behaviors.

Facebook's response to the many thousands of complaints and calls to address these issues has been inadequate. You have failed to make a public statement addressing the issue, respond to concerned users, or implement policies that would improve the situation. You have also acted inconsistently with regards to your policy on banning images, in many cases refusing to remove offensive rape and domestic violence pictures when reported by members of the public, but deleting them as soon as journalists mention them in articles, which sends the strong message that you are more concerned with acting on a case-by-case basis to protect your reputation than effecting systemic change and taking a clear public stance against the dangerous tolerance of rape and domestic violence.

In a world in which hundreds of thousands of women are assaulted daily and where intimate partner violence remains one of the leading causes of death for women around the world, it is not possible to sit on the fence. We call on Facebook to make the only responsible decision and take swift, clear action on this issue, to bring your policy on rape and domestic violence into line with your own moderation goals and guidelines.

Sincerely, Laura Bates, The Everyday Sexism Project Soraya Chemaly, Writer and Activist Jaclyn Friedman, Women, Action & the Media (WAM!) Angel Band Project Anne Munch Consulting, Inc. Association for Progressive Communications Women's Rights Programme Black Feminists The Body is Not An Apology Breakthrough Catharsis Productions Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation Collective Action for Safe Spaces Collective Administrators of Rapebook CounterQuo End Violence Against Women Coalition The EQUALS Coalition Fem 2.0 Feminist Peace Network The Feminist Wire FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture A Girl's Guide to Taking Over the World Hollaback! Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault Jackson Katz, PhD., Co-Founder and Director, Mentors in Violence Prevention Lauren Wolfe, Director of WMC's Women Under Siege Media Equity Collaborative MissRepresentation.org No More Page 3 Object The Pixel Project Rape Victim Advocates Social Media Week SPARK Movement Stop Street Harassment Take Back the Tech! Tech LadyMafia Time To Tell The Uprising of Women in the Arab World V-Day The Voices and Faces Project The Women's Media Center Women's Networking Hub The Women's Room.

 

29th May
2013

 Update: Shared Concerns...

Facebook set to require real identities for those that want to post bad taste humour

Facebook logo Recently there has been some attention given to Facebook's content policy. The current concern, voiced by Women, Action and The Media, The Everyday Sexism Project, and the coalition they represent, has focused on content that targets women with images and content that threatens or incites gender-based violence or hate. 

In light of this recent attention, we want to take this opportunity to explain our philosophy and policies regarding controversial or harmful content, including hate speech, and to explain some of the steps we are taking to reduce the proliferation of content that could create an unsafe environment for users.

Facebook's mission has always been to make the world more open and connected. We seek to provide a platform where people can share and surface content, messages and ideas freely, while still respecting the rights of others.

To facilitate this goal, we also work hard to make our platform a safe and respectful place for sharing and connection.  This requires us to make difficult decisions and balance concerns about free expression and community respect.  We prohibit content deemed to be directly harmful, but allow content that is offensive or controversial. We define harmful content as anything organizing real world violence, theft, or property destruction, or that directly inflicts emotional distress on a specific private individual (e.g. bullying). 

In addition, our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities  ( www.facebook.com/terms ) prohibits "hate speech." While there is no universally accepted definition of hate speech, as a platform we define the term to mean direct and serious attacks on any protected category of people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or disease. We work hard to remove hate speech quickly, however there are instances of offensive content, including distasteful humor, that are not hate speech according to our definition. In these cases, we work to apply fair, thoughtful, and scalable policies. This approach allows us to continue defending the principles of freedom of self-expression on which Facebook is founded. We've also found that posting  insensitive or cruel content often results in many more people denouncing it than supporting it on Facebook. That being said, we realize that our defense of freedom of expression should never be interpreted as license to bully, harass, abuse or threaten violence. We are committed to working to ensure that this does not happen within the Facebook community. We believe that the steps outlined below will help us achieve this goal.

As part of doing better, we will be taking the following steps, that we will begin rolling out immediately:
  • We will complete our review and update the guidelines that our User Operations team uses to evaluate reports of violations of our Community Standards around hate speech.  To ensure that these guidelines reflect best practices, we will solicit feedback from legal experts and others, including representatives of the women's coalition and other groups that have historically faced discrimination.
  • We will update the training for the teams that review and evaluate reports of hateful speech or harmful content on Facebook. To ensure that our training is robust, we will work with legal experts and others, including members of the women's coalition to identify resources or highlight areas of particular concern for inclusion in the training. 
  • We will increase the accountability of the creators of content that does not qualify as actionable hate speech but is cruel or insensitive by insisting that the authors stand behind the content they create.  A few months ago we began testing a new requirement that the creator of any content containing cruel and insensitive humor include his or her authentic identity for the content to remain on Facebook.  As a result, if an individual decides to publicly share cruel and insensitive content, users can hold the author accountable and directly object to the content. We will continue to develop this policy based on the results so far, which indicate that it is helping create a better environment for Facebook users.
  • We will establish more formal and direct lines of communications with representatives of groups working in this area, including women's groups, to assure expedited treatment of content they believe violate our standards. We have invited representatives of the women Everyday Sexism to join the less formal communication channels Facebook has previously established with other groups.
  • We will encourage the Anti-Defamation League's Anti-Cyberhate working group and other international working groups that we currently work with on these issues to include representatives of the women's coalition to identify how to balance considerations of free expression, to undertake research on the effect of online hate speech on the online experiences of members of groups that have historically faced discrimination in society, and to evaluate progress on our collective objectives.

 

29th August
2013

 Offsite Article: More Danish content censored by Facebook...

Denmark flag Magazine surprised that US prudery applies in Denmark

See article from cphpost.dk

 

11th September
2013

 Update: Crucified by Facebook...

Facebook kindly censors artworks by Eril Ravelo
erik revelo on thailand

  Thailand

Cuban artist Erik Ravelo's latest project is a personal artwork, unrelated to his career as a creative director at Benetton, has managed to outrage the easily offended.

I had people writing me, threatening me, he said in a phone conversation with the Huffington Post. At first the project was fun but it got a little out of hand.

Los Intocables, which translates to The Untouchables, is what Ravelo refers to as a human installation, featuring a variety of issues plaguing children around the world. Several works features both a child and an adult posed to demonstrate a contemporary evil, whether it be gun violence, molestation or the threat of nuclear war. Each work features a child being crucified on the back of an adult, each scene attempting to tell a different story about the loss of innocence.

The human sculptures are then photographed with the child's face blurred, resulting in images as visually jarring as they are conceptually saddening. It's art, it's communication, Ravelo explained.

Facebook obligingly have censored Ravelo's project. Halting his likes at 18,000, he has been prevented from uploading more images. I am used to governmental censorship from Cuba but with this, he paused, my first reaction was 'woah.'

 

12th October
2013

 Update: Censors Lose Friends...

Facebook rescind censorship of gay kiss after it reaches the Huffington Post
jesse jackman kissingFacebook took down a photo of two men kissing because it supposedly violated Community Standards.

Of course, it may also have been the fact that the photo was posted by gay porn star, Titan Men exclusive Jesse Jackman, who told sfist.com that in the aftermath of posting the picture of him kissing husband Dirk Caber:

I received multiple public death threats after posting this photo, endured countless homophobic slurs, and received dozens upon dozens of hate-filled messages, and yet Facebook did nothing about those disgusting comments, choosing to censor love instead of hate... This is a travesty. Hate must not be allowed to prevail in this world.

Jackman also took to Twitter to express his amazement at the censorship for something so sweet as a kiss and then the story went kind of viral, with HuffPo also taking stock.

As usual once a decision is widely criticised, Facebook rescinded the ban with the claim:

As our team processes more than one million reports each week, we occasionally make a mistake, Facebook told the site. In this case, we mistakenly removed content and worked to rectify the mistake as soon as we were notified. We apologize for the inconvenience caused due to the removal of this content.

Presumably thousands of similar 'mistakes' go unrectified as they lack the clout of Huffington Post  in putting things right.

 

24th October
2013

 Updated: Carry On Beheading...

Facebook speaks of implementing warnings about 'graphic content'
carry on beheadingFacebook has announced it is working on new ways to keep users from stumbling across gruesome content such as beheading videos.

Facing sharp criticism from the likes of David Cameron, Facebook issued a statement clarifying that violent videos were only allowed if they were presented as news or held up as atrocities to be condemned.

If they were being celebrated, or the actions in them encouraged, our approach would be different. However, since some people object to graphic video of this nature, we are working to give people additional control over the content they see. This may include warning them in advance that the image they are about to see contains graphic content.

Facebook banned beheading videos in May but recently lifted the prohibition - a development flagged by the BBC.

Facebook's administrators face constant pressure from interest groups trying to impose their own forms of censorship or fighting to lift restrictions they see as oppressive. Women's rights groups want the company to ban sexy content; others have ridiculed Facebook's ban on the depiction of female breasts. Some believers have urged the site to ban what they see as blasphemous content.

Sean Gallagher of Index on Censorship said:

Films about beheadings may be deeply upsetting and offensive, but they do expose the reality of violent acts that are taking place in the world today. When trying to draw a line about what should or shouldn't be allowed, it's important to look at context, not just content.

Update: Heads Roll at Facebook

24th October 2013. See article from independent.co.uk

Facebook logoFacebook has removed a video of a woman being beheaded and updated its policy on graphic violence following a supposed 'public outcry'.

In a move which David Cameron described as irresponsible , Facebook had said that it would be allowing users to upload images and videos of graphic violence so that they could be condemned .

It has now backtracked on that decision, moving to take down a particular video which sparked this week's debate. Entitled only Challenge: Anybody can watch this video? it seemed to show a masked man beheading a woman in Mexico. In a statement, Facebook explained refinements to its policy on violent content:

When we review content that is reported to us, we will take a more holistic look at the context surrounding a violent image or video.

Second, we will consider whether the person posting the content is sharing it responsibly, such as accompanying the video or image with a warning and sharing it with an age-appropriate audience.

Based on these enhanced standards, we have re-examined recent reports of graphic content and have concluded that this content improperly and irresponsibly glorifies violence. For this reason, we have removed it.

 

2nd November
2013

 Update: No Brains!...

Facebook ludicrously bans poster who likes faggots
brains faggotsA man was banned from Facebook for being homophobic after posting a comment about his favourite childhood dish which read, I like faggots .

Robert Wilkes was referring to the traditional British meat balls which are usually made from butchers' off-cuts minced together with onion and breadcrumbs but he was blocked from the site for 12 hours after other users complained about his language, which is used as derogatory term for gay men in the US.

Speaking to The Sun, he said:

It may have a different meaning in America but I used it in a food context. Facebook allows beheading videos, cruelty to animals, stabbing and terrible swear words -- but not this. It's political correctness gone mad.

But this was not a one off mistake by Facebook incompetent censors. The comment was posted in response to a report that Eileen Perrin had her account similarly locked for 12 hours for posting a picture of savoury dish. Eileen said:

A lot of people on the Facebook group found it very funny and started saying things like 'free Eileen'.

Facebook claimed that the word had been misinterpreted.

 

20th January
2014

 Update: Antisocial Censorship...

Continuing Facebook censorship of mastectomy pictures

banned facebook masectomyA cancer sufferer was accused of breaching Facebook anti-porn rules, for uploading before and after mastectomy photos to encourage women to check their breasts.

Tracy Morris lodged a complaint with the site after it blocked the pictures so no one else could see them. Tracy said:

I had a photoshoot done when I was first diagnosed because I wanted a lasting memory of how I had once looked. After my second mastectomy I decided to have another shoot done because I still felt beautiful -- in a different way. Losing my second breast was traumatic. It made me realise how drastic cancer is. I decided that I had to warn other women, to shock them into checking their breasts before it was too late.

She posted her photos on Facebook and received dozens of positive messages. But then Facebook sent her a message telling her it was investigating the photographs for violating its standards on nudity and pornography. She said:

I am disgusted by Facebook. If one woman checks her breasts after seeing my photos they might save a life. How can that be offensive to anyone?

Tracy tried to re-post the photos but had no success until the Sunday Mirror contacted the site to query their removal. The photos are now visible to everybody.

 

22nd April
2014

 Updated: Censorship is Hip...

Newsstand vendors censor breastfeeding image
hip mama Another magazine has put a breastfeeding mom on its cover , only to offend the easily offended. Hip Mama magazine opted to feature a self-portrait by Barcelona-based artist Ana Alvarez-Errecalde on the cover of its May issue. In the photo, Alvarez-Errecalde is seen with a Spider-Man mask on her face, breastfeeding her 4-year-old, who is also clad in Spider-Man garb.

Editor Ariel Gore thought the cover image was gorgeous and she posted the cover to Facebook to let readers know the issue would hit newsstands next month. That's when the trouble started. Vendors told Gore not to send the magazine; they wouldn't put it on newsstands. Then Facebook banned the image .

Hip Mama's distributor said they wouldn't be able to distribute the magazine to half of their customers unless they changed their cover.  It was the artist, Alvarez-Errecalde, who suggested highlighting the censorship on the cover. She suggested a dot to cover the offending breasts, moving their cover line No Supermoms Here onto the dot to draw attention to the message.

Whether vendors carry the new image or not, Gore said she's buoyed by the support Hip Mama has gotten after the censorship of the breastfeeding mother has gone public.

Hip Mama added extra coverage about the censorship included the comment:

As Ana points out in the updated interview in the magazine, right now this is about an image of an artist breastfeeding on the cover of a magazine, but moms face this every day when they try to feed their children in restaurants or on airplanes or in other public places -- they are asked to go into seclusion to feed their kids.

 

26th May
2014

 Update: Facebook celebrates International Homophobia Day...

Another example of cheapo Facebook censorship being reversed when faced with bad publicity
facebook kiss Facebook's censorship policies have been thrust into the spotlight after a seemingly innocuous photo of two women kissing was removed on the grounds that it violated the community's standards on nudity and pornography .

To add insult to injury the pic had been uploaded to mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia by an Italian woman, Carlotta Trevisan.

It was reported to Facebook, presumably by homophobes. Facebook's cheapo first line censorship crew jumped in to demand that Trevisan remove the image, suspending her account for three days when she failed to comply.

Commenting on the incident Trevisan, a gay rights activist, said:

How can they say a kiss, which is something so loving, is nudity or porn?'

When the ludicrous censorship was escalated to more competent censorship staff, the decision was inevitably reversed. In a statement Facebook said their action had been a 'mistake' and Trevisan's account was now back up and running. A spokesperson said:

In an effort to quickly and efficiently process reports we receive, our community operations team reviews many reports every week, and as you might expect, occasionally, we make a mistake and block a piece of content we shouldn't have. We can understand how people can be frustrated with this when, as in this case, a mistake happens.

 

13th June
2014

 Update: Same old accidental censorship...

Facebook supposedly changes its censorship rules to properly allow breastfeeding photos
paala secor breastfeeding Facebook has changed its censorship rules to allow users to post photos of breastfeeding.

The change comes as the wide-ranging #FreeTheNipple online campaign has built pace in its attack against rules used to censor nudity.

Facebook's Community Standards , which outline what users are allowed to post, never included a outright ban on photos of breastfeeding. And for years cheapo Facebook censors have been banning breastfeeding photos. The usual pattern is that the censorship is usually reversed when the censorship is escalated to higher levels of Facebook censors, who then claim it was all horrendous mistake.

Now, Facebook has ordered its moderators to consider the context of a photo or image, meaning non-sexual photos including female nipples, such as nursing mothers or women with mastectomies, will be allowed on the website.

To test the new rules, US parenting blogger Paala Secor posted a tender photo of her breastfeeding to her 4,655 Facebook followers, in which her nipple was exposed.

Inevitably less than a day later, Facebook unpublished her page and warned it could be deleted. And inevitably once the bad publicity was spotted by Facebook, she received an apology from the website in which a member of the Community Operations team admitted the page had been accidentally removed.