"As difficult questions arise about the limits of what people can share, we have a single guiding principle: We want to give the most voice to the most people".
|Facebook's priorities are confusing and misguided|
While I've been away on my longer-than-usual Facebook ban, I've been doing some research into the censorship habits of this social network. What I've discovered is pretty alarming! Censorship has always been a big deal for me. I grew up in the Mary Whitehouse / James Ferman era of moral outrage and censorship, resulting in countless home entertainment products being heavily censored or outright banned from public consumption (mostly horror films). I always believed this situation would get better with time, but it's gotten so much worse.
It baffles me why Facebook regards every instance of nudity as pornographic. Defined by the application of its own rules, it is clearly saying that matters of public interest such as sexual health is pornographic; Breast cancer survivors, normally considered so inspirational and such beautiful symbols of triumph, are all pornographic; Breastfeeding is pornographic; Works of art that study the human form are pornographic. This just isn't acceptable.
The sheer volume of respected art that Facebook has censored or banned is incredibly worrying if you care about art, free expression, or censorship in general. I don't just mean digital photography of nudes, I'm talking classic works, oil paintings, sculptures, modern art, medical diagrams, and even written texts. Nude Statues, the 1866 painting The Origin of the World (which is freely available for all to view in a French museum), work by Salvador Dali, the works of ARTLOG, various pieces of Medieval art, and works by many other artists too vast for me to list, have all been victim to Facebook's atrocious censorship policy. I was astounded to learn that the cover of Nirvana's classic album Nevermind was also banned by Facebook. When I read that scientific and medical diagrams have been censored too, it really forced me to question the whole validity of Facebook as a social platform and what it's actual agenda really is. I'm not into conspiracy theory, but it sure looks like SOMETHING weird is happening behind the scenes of this website.
What Facebook fails to understand is that the finest of fine art is always about the human body in nude form.
|Female skin: Why not just censor the whole lot and be done with it?|
|BANNED!! BUT NO REAL NIPPLES IN THIS IMAGE!|
Depicting self mutilation in order to satisfy modern censorship standards
|DOES THIS MAKE HER MORE SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE ONLINE?|
|How censorship feels to the creative talent that publish art and photography|
|LET'S JUST FIX IT IN PLACE PERMANENTLY!|
You could argue that Facebook is a private commercial enterprise offering society a free service and it can decide for itself what rules it creates and what content it allows. It's a pretty sound argument but is flawed by a few complexities. For one thing, it generates huge revenues from advertising to targeted communities, so we're making the site owners and shareholders a tidy pot of gold just by using the service. Shouldn't we have a bit more in return for this? Or are we all just Facebook's revenue cattle? Secondly, Facebook is used by so many people these days from all walks of life, developing so many communities and social engagements that it is surely far bigger and more important to the general population that it's own corporate agenda? Because of what Facebook has become over the years, I believe it has a duty of care towards all the communities that use it, and it should not alienate communities because of poorly managed rules or in-house corporate agendas. Free expression is still protected by laws in the UK and Facebook should be compelled to uphold those laws and protect those freedoms for its millions of users.
Hate and racism is a whole different discussion and I agree that these types of communities should probably be challenged at the gate, as these are topics that can result in actual harm within the fabric of society. But from where I sit, it seems the creative community is one of the most victimised on the whole network. I'm fortunate enough to know a good number of very fine photographers, artists, models, body painters, sculptors, makeup talent, and other creatives. It's really sad just how many of them have to censor their own works of art in order to display them to their peers via Facebook, and far too many of them (myself included) have had several account suspensions and bans. Yet I can stand here with the greatest clarity and state that not a single one of these individuals ever creates or posts anything even close to "pornography". Some of the most beautiful works I've seen from some of my friends have been censored as obscene. The only obscene thing in this whole matter is Facebook's atrocious behaviour towards the arts. In fact I call it the way I see it: Dictatorship.