On February 16, Richard Metzger of the blog Dangerous Minds reported that a picture he had posted to Facebook of two fully-clothed men kissing was removed from the site. In his post, Hey Facebook: What’s So Wrong About a Pic of Two Men Kissing? (which also includes a copy of the picture in question), Metzger quoted the message he received from Facebook stating that “shares that contain nudity, or any kind of graphic or sexually suggestive content, are not permitted on Facebook.”
While some commenters on the post believed that Facebook automatically removes any photo that is reported as being obscene, Facebook’s policies on the issue confirm that isn’t the case:
Does Facebook remove everything that gets reported?
No. A Facebook administrator looks into each report thoroughly in order to decide the appropriate course of action. If no violation of our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities has occurred, then no action will be taken. If a violation has occurred, then you may receive a warning or become disabled, depending on the severity of the violation.
One female Dangerous Minds reader, Stacey, created a Facebook page to protest the removal of the picture. She also posted a picture of herself kissing her boyfriend in a similar pose, then logged in under a different account and “reported” the photo as obscene to see if it was removed. More than a day after reporting the photo, it has not yet been removed.
This story is similar in many ways to the numerous breastfeeding pictures that have been removed from Facebook over the past few years. Despite having a Facebook page with more than 250,000 members and plenty of strong logic for allowing breastfeeding pictures, the Hey Facebook, Breastfeeding is Not Obscene movement has not been successful in stopping the removal of breastfeeding photos.
The Empire of Facebook
Annie blogs about the art and science of parenting at the PhD in Parenting blog.
Image credit: benstein.