Facebook’s grotesque nudity censorship policy
Lund, Sweden, July 1, 2016
Dear Facebook friends
Yes, I consider this blocking of me – because of posting an image of nudity – for one day unreasonable.
Here is why:
The image of a naked young woman in water was taken from the Danish daily newspaper, Politiken – one of Denmark’s most respected newspapers.
This image was generated automatically by Facebook when I posted the link to the article on my profile page – i.e. not something I did deliberately or to provoke.
Secondly, the image is created by a Swedish professional and respected artistic photographer, Matilde Grafstrom – and is part of a project “Nude In The Public Space”.
The article is about an exhibition of these her works at the main square in Copenhagen – for anyone from anywhere in the world to see.
I am myself a PhD in sociology and have specialised during 40+ years in international peace-making and peace research. Have worked or visited some 60 countries on all continents. I am also an art collector and art photographer who has taken many photos of women, young and old – portraits and bodies.
I tell you this because I am not insensitive to the respect we must all show for each other’s cultures and sensitive ethical issues if and when we want to live and work together on this earth.
However, I am fundamentally against censorship – self censorship or otherwise.
I am also very concerned about a policy – yours and described here – which builds on the mere depiction of physical surface of something being shown in an image and totally ignores the context, the framework, the history, the intentions, the quality and ethos of the image.
Facebook thereby ends up – in consequence – equating in your application of this policy pornography, sexually explicit images and images that debase women (and sometimes men too) with every kind of artistic expressions.
It cannot possibly be that every kind of nudity as described by you is forbidden. It simply can not.
Facebook needs to have a staff with some insights into the arts and evaluate what images are sheer pornographic, violent against women and men and for what purpose they were posted – and which images are not.
The logics of your present policies is that the human body itself is pornographic – and that is a perverted interpretation of creation, if I may.
In that case we cannot take an image in the majority of art museums, of Greek statues, or accept millions of depictions in the arts of naked men and women and children throughout centuries.
That is my first argument.
Here is the second:
Since Facebook is so concerned about nudity – also that which is not violent against it objects or spectators – would you please consider why your policies do not block images of dead bodies, warfare, weapons that kill, and destruction of societies and cultures.
If you seriously believe that it can be harmful to humans to see beautiful images of how God created us – if S/He did – how can you possibly think that seeing all this violence does not have negative, harmful longterm consequences and makes at least some people numbed towards human – real – suffering?
I am not for that censorship either, that is not what I suggest. Violence is part of reality – as is nudity.
I am however asking you to think through why publication of images of nudity among all kinds of all images is so much more harmful than anything else.
Third, and final:
I have gone through your process and answered truthfully that I have no nudity images in any file. That is true because the post wth the image you’ve seen has been deleted by you from my profile page and was not an image in my photo file.
If I had had a picture of nudity anywhere, placed there by myself, it would have been taken away by me because I respect your policy while I disagree thoroughly with it in terms of freedom of expression, artistic freedom and because we live in a multicultural world in which the lowest denominator followed will only make us all more stupid and intolerant over time.
Could you then please tell me why I am blocked for 24 hours or more – in one sign it says “one more day” so I wonder for how long? – when there is no nudity image anywhere?
The only reason I can find is that you thereby attempt to punish me.
That is not a mature policy vis-a-vis your users – and certainly not since this is the only time and I have accepted your policy and given you the truthful answer that there is no nudity images among my photos (because there never was).
Sorry for writing this long.
But Facebook’s role and importance for so many millions implies that you are a major shaper of culture and communication worldwide – and you know it. And you have huge responsibilities.
Therefore, it is of utter importance that you get feedback and that you consider – every day! – whether your policies are justifiable against some intellectually and culturally sound criteria and whether it is compatible with your policies – or lack of them – in other areas. And how you implement your policies in concrete cases.
I hope my thoughts above can be of some little help at the general level. And I would appreciate at the age of 65 to not be treated as a little bad boy whom you think needs to be punished.
Thanks for your time, attention and consideration. And please let it lead, eventually, to a more mature and sensible Facebook policy in this area.