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April 18, 2011

Dear Facebook: What does 'obscene' mean to you?

Oh Facebook. You sure are messed up sometimes... especially when it comes to censoring photographs. Over the years we have read about a lot of unfair and contradictory censorship issues on Facebook... but what really pisses us off is the sheer hypocrisy of it all.

According to Facebook's photo policy:
Photos are removed if they contain nudity, drug use or other obscene content. If the photo attacks another individual or group, it will be removed as well.
For a while now, women have found their photos removed - and even some of their accounts disabled - for violating the so-called 'decency' code by posting photographs of themselves breastfeeding their babies, even though breastfeeding is not indecent or obscene. Outraged members of Facebook created a group entitled Hey Facebook, breastfeding is not obscene! (Official petition to Facebook) as well as several smaller groups on the topic.

Although some breastfeeding photos might technically be considered to contain 'nudity' (even though a breast partially covered by a baby's head isn't really nudity), they certainly aren't obscene or offensive in any way. Breastfeeding is normal, natural and not at all sexual so we really disagree with anyone who feels that these kinds of photographs are offensive.

Now Facebook has gone and taken it a step further. Not only does Facebook find breastfeeding mothers offensive, but apparently they find pregnant women to be offensive as well. This week, we saw a link posted by a friend in support of a Long Island maternity photographer who had one of her photos removed from her page. Since this was the second time that someone has reported one of her photographs as 'offensive', she was banned from posting photos on her page for seven days.

The offending photo? You better cover your children's eyes before you click this link.

Yeah, really. That's it.

I don't know what is wrong with some people! Someone actually looked at that beautiful photograph and thought "hm, this is offensive" and clicked the 'Report This Photo' link. And to make matters worse... someone who works at Facebook actually investigated this claim and determined that it was in fact offensive enough to be removed.

Other images that Facebook apparently finds offensive include fully-clothed men kissing, marijuana leaves, mastectomy scars, stories about HPV awareness, people with the last name 'Arab' and cute little baby butts (sorry, but if that is obscene, then Anne Geddes is a pornographer).

However, stuff that Facebook thinks are totally fucking fine include heterosexual couples kissing, half-naked drunk girls, boobs, homophobia, Islamophobia, Holocaust denial, praying for President Obama's death and punching sluts in the head.

Are we the only ones who think something is seriously wrong here?


Yandie, Goddess of Pickles. said...

No. No, you definitely are NOT.

minuteye said...

Uh, not sure if you're aware of this, but the link you've posted leads to a looping slideshow of several photos, so it's a little unclear which one you mean. If there's a stable version of the same photo that you could link to, or maybe specifically describe which photo you're talking about of the few?

Fat Bastard said...

Lies are obscene.

Anonymous said...

Um... minuteye, which link are you talking about??

Anonymous said...

Oh nevermind, I see what you're talking about... None of those are the image. That's the header of the website and if you scroll down to the specific blog entry you can see the photo. But I've edited the link to go directly to just the image instead of the blog about the photo.

But here is the orignal link for those who would like to read what she had to say about the photo ban.

Lima Bean said...

I work at a photo studio and there are strict regulations on what is "obscene". Breast feeding is one of them. If you send an "obscene" photo to the lab to be developed they will send it back with a large red x. I think that its not just Facebook but society as a whole. There is such a taboo placed on breasts that anything to do with them, whether it is feeding a child or wearing a low cut shirt is considered "obscene". There are more people, mostly women I find, that are changing their views but it will take a long time for this taboo to be fully gone from society.