Facebook bans user for posting photo of 30,000-year-old statue of naked woman

Mar 2, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Facebook bans user for posting photo of 30,000-year-old statue of naked woman

Mar 2, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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As if Facebook’s photo rules and regulations didn’t seem stupid enough already. Now, according to Business Insider, they’re banning people for posting photographs of 30,000-year-old statues that have appeared in history books for decades. The Venus of Willendorf is an 11.1cm (4.4″) all figurine estimated to have been made sometime between 28,000 and 25,000 BCE.

It currently resides in the Natural History Museum in Vienna. In December a photograph was posted by Italian arts activist, Laura Ghianda to Facebook. It was censored and Ghianda was banned from posting the photograph again. BI reports that Facebook says the image violated the company’s policies on nudity.

Undeterred, Ghianda kept reposting the image to her Facebook, only to have to appeal it 4 times.

The Vienna Natural History Museum also responded when they found out through a Facebook post of their own.

Posted in German, the Facebook translation reads…

#Censorship of Venus their nakedness! For 29.500 years, “our” Venus of willendorf has been presented as a prehistoric fertility undressed in full glory Facebook is now censoring (https://tinyurl.com/ycf9gtvn) and has been surging for days. We do not want to accept this and argue that Venus must remain naked!
Give us a like if you see it as well.

Christian Koeberl, Vienna NHM’s director-general and CEO told Business Insider…

There is no reason for the Natural History Museum Vienna to cover the ‘Venus of Willendorf’ (a 29,500-year-old figurine, a naked representation of a woman of the Paleolithic Age) and hide her nudity, neither in the museum nor on social media.

There has never been a complaint by visitors concerning the nakedness of the figurine and we have never heard of anybody who could have been offended by the look of this artefact.

Despite Ghianda having to dispute Facebook’s claims four times, Facebook says it was all just a misunderstanding. Four times. Four misunderstandings. A spokesperson for Facebook told BI that Ghianda had tried to run an ad containing the photo of the venus which was mistakenly banned before realising it was a statue.

Our advertising policies do not allow nudity or implied nudity but we have an exception for statues. Therefore, the ad with this image should have been approved.

We apologise for the error and have let the advertiser know we are approving their ad.

– Facebook spokesperson

Gotta be honest, if this looks like a real person to anybody working at Facebook, they really need to have their eyes checked. And it’s not the first time Facebook has banned people for their art, either. Last year, Canadian photographer Julia Busato was banned for her images containing people hiding behind a naked mannequin.

They’ve also banned images and users for posting some of the most iconic photography the world has known, such as the famous “Napalm Girl“. A decision on which they later backed down, just like this one.

Facebook’s own community standards do say that they “allow photographs of paintings, sculptures and other art that depicts nude figures”. That last bit’s interesting “other art that depicts nude figures”. Well, photographers themselves are “other art” that isn’t paintings or sculptures. So, does that mean photographs of actual nude figures are allowed? Or only photographs of photographs of nude figures?

Either way, this particular example is clearly covered. So, either not all of Facebook’s enforcement staff have read this, or they’ve no idea what it actually means. But Facebook’s rules on this matter are so vague it’s impossible to see where the goal posts even are, let alone have any clue on whether or not Facebook’s randomly moving them about.

One of these days, Facebook’s rules will get a little clearer. But I doubt it.

[via Business Insider]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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11 responses to “Facebook bans user for posting photo of 30,000-year-old statue of naked woman”

  1. lewisfrancis Avatar
    lewisfrancis

    I expect the ad was blocked by an image-recognition routine, not a clueless staffer. We can expect to see a lot more of this as companies roll out more such tools as a way to manage scale challenges.

  2. Richie Vela Avatar
    Richie Vela

    Who cares FACEBOOK days are numbered

    1. bolkey Avatar
      bolkey

      Leave FB to rot and never return. Life can be so simple sometimes.

  3. Nadine Spires Avatar
    Nadine Spires

    So they are ok with open porn groups but get iffy over historical pieces? Seems they all have one collective brain cell, and it’s flickering.

  4. Duncan Knifton Avatar
    Duncan Knifton

    so…Guns are OK, but statues aren’t ??

  5. Franco Kailsan Avatar
    Franco Kailsan

    The reason things like these happen is because FB has thousands of people to comb through posts. Each person has different ideas on what porn is and what porn isnt. This was done by a censor who deemed anything naked as porn. Im sure if this picture is appealed, FB would unban the person. I have reported posts which were banned after a first FB censor said it was not bannable. And also seen posts unbanned after the first FB censor banned it.

  6. Ondřej Kadlec Avatar
    Ondřej Kadlec

    Looks like Vestonicka Venuse found here in the Czech Republic

  7. Kryn Sporry Avatar
    Kryn Sporry

    Facebook is an idiot. That’ll never change.

  8. Randy Schirmer Avatar
    Randy Schirmer

    I thought They were the eyes!

  9. William Avatar
    William

    Well there is a solution! Quit! Look at this guy:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysa-SzNepsA