750 million Facebook users worldwide still don’t know which photographs are deemed appropriate.
Facebook, the world’s most popular social network, continues to confuse its users as to its policy on what exactly constitutes illicit photographs. While some seemingly innocuous pictures are being removed, others that most people agree cross over the line into pornography remain.
The website has responded to public complaints about being too restrictive when it comes to certain types of images. Just last month Facebook changed its policy to allow pictures of women breastfeeding. It had, until them, removed such pictures.
But Facebook recently punished a professional photographer for posting a picture of two year-old girls at the beach, in which one playfully pulls down the other’s bathing shorts from behind. While some people may have viewed this as “cute” or “playful, ” Facebook felt that since part of the second girl’s bottom was exposed that it bordered on child pornography.
Facebook took down the picture and banned the photographer, Jilly White, from making any postings for a 24 hour period. Ms. White responded by telling Fox News, “We didn’t stage the photo. When we looked at it later, her tan line reminded us so much of the famous Coppertone ad.”
“I was completely shocked and outraged, ” White stated. “Nowhere did I see anything pornographic about this photo. There is nothing sexual about it. It’s sweet.”
The 1950s Coppertone sunscreen ad was a drawing depicting a young girl whose bathing suit is being pulled down by a dog. The image reveals part of the girl’s behind and was meant to show her tan line.
White’s photo was first posted on Coppertone’s Facebook page.
While Facebook rushed to delete that image, it is apparently not dealing with some genuinely pornographic material that gets posted on it.
Davin Rosenblatt of Warwick, N.Y., hosts a radio show called Davin’s Den, in which he has attacked Facebook for its inconsistent policy.
He told The New York Post, “The public has a right to know that their children are not safe on Facebook — because Facebook ignores their own rules.” He pointed out that the social networking website is filled with pornographic imagery, including pedophilia and bestiality.
“Even if a parent gives an honest effort to limit what their child is exposed to, Facebook allows them to see as much graphic content as they would on a porn site, ” Rosenblatt added. He also cited a number of Facebook pages that provide direct links to websites filled with pornographic imagery.
Facebook states that, “Our policy prohibits photos of actual nude people, not paintings or sculptures. We recognize that this policy might in some cases result in the removal of artistic works; however, it is designed to ensure Facebook remains a safe, secure and trusted environment for all users.”
“Facebook has a strict policy against the sharing of pornographic content and any explicitly sexual content where a minor is involved. We also impose limitations on the display of nudity. We aspire to respect people’s right to share content of personal importance, whether those are photos of a sculpture like Michelangelo’s David or family photos of a child breastfeeding.”
Many critics are saying that the above is self-contradictory and that Facebook fails to be consistent in what it removes.
Facebook defends its record, pointing out that 350 million images are posted on it each day. It says its complaint response times have been shortened from 72 to 48 hours, stating, “When policies are violated, we remove that content.”