A few months ago, the Chinese government reportedly required Shutterstock to start censoring some topics for China-based users. Some Shutterstock employees disagreed, claiming that “blacklisting” search terms wasn’t in accordance with the right of free speech. But one of the executives responded to it by basically telling them to go and work somewhere else.
Sony World Photography Awards (SWPA) recently announced finalists and shortlists of its annual contest. However, some images of Hong Kong protests have been removed due to their alleged “sensitive nature.” This has caused a backlash in the community, accusing competition organizers of censorship.
Facebook has gone under fire a few times so far for censoring “nude” images that are artistic, iconic, or merely show nude statues. And after Facebook censored the famous Nik Ut’s photo “Napalm Girl,” it looks like YouTube followed the same footsteps. Martin Kaninsky of All About Street Photography recently uploaded a video that tells the story behind this iconic photo. However, it was soon flagged for violating YouTube’s Child Safety Policy.
An Iranian music streaming website Melovaz recently came under fire for removing images of women from album covers. World-famous artists like Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, and Lana Del Ray were removed from the artwork of their own albums. What’s more, if the album covers featured men – these men were left intact, while the women were photoshopped out.
Facebook has the policy to ban photographic nudity, which has been a problem for many photographers who share their work on Facebook and Instagram. But this could soon change. Photographer Spencer Tunick recently organized a nude photo shoot outside of company’s offices to challenge its policies. As a result, Facebook will reconsider its nudity guidelines when it comes to photographic art.
Many cultural institutions use social networks nowadays to promote their events. Geneva’s Museum of Art and History is no exception, but Facebook’s photo policy ruined its campaign. The museum posted images of two ancient statues that will be exhibited in an upcoming show. However, Facebook apparently thinks they’re porn, so it banned the museum’s ad.
Facebook has had some pretty weird cases of censoring works of art before. This time, photos taken by iconic photographer Irving Penn were censored because, basically, Facebook thinks they’re porn. Photographer Cliff Cheng shared some of Penn’s portraits of tribes on the verge of extinction, and Facebook deleted them in a matter of minutes due to “nudity or sexuality activity.” And after two reviews, the social network still sees the photos as inappropriate.
It’s nothing new that Facebook censors nude photos, but now it turns out that even classical works of art aren’t spared from the social network’s policy. Works of 16th-century painter Peter Paul Rubens have been removed from Facebook after the Belgian region of Flanders shared them in a social media advertising campaign. As a response, Toerisme Vlaanderen, the Flemish tourism bureau wrote a rather humorous open letter to Mark Zuckerberg. They have even published a comical video that mocks the “21st century social media regulations.”
We all know how important social media platforms are these days for promotion our brand. In the case of Australian blogger, Jessa O’Brien, (a.k.a. thenudeblogger), that platform is Instagram. With over 43,000 followers, it’s certainly helping her to get her blog out in front of an audience. But she hit a snag when Instagram shut down her account.
Instagram parent, Facebook, has a fairly strict “no nudity” policy. So, it wasn’t really all that much of a surprise. But, on Instagram, things seem to be fairly inconsistent with how this policy is enforced. Many of us know somebody who’s been through this, or have been through it ourselves. To add to the confusion of what is and isn’t allowed, Jessa’s account has now been reinstated.
This Tuesday, the reporters of many major newspapers tried covering the healthcare protests on Capitol Hill. According to their tweets from the Senate Gallery, the police blocked them and tried forcing them to delete the photos.
That day, almost 100 demonstrators were arrested for protesting against Trumpcare. As the journalists tried to cover the arrest, the police prevented them from taking photos, calling the place “a crime scene.”