Is it Time to Audit the Auditors? Why Facebook Blocked Our Most Popular Post To Date (NSFW)

hagenphotography12 hagenphotography6 hagenphotography3

Last week, we published our most viral post to date: Nude Bodies Transform From Flattering To Unflattering With Slight Shift In Pose (NSFW). After gaining momentum on Facebook and accruing a considerable amount of traffic, we were notified that the post violated Facebook’s Community Standards. The (incredibly vague) policy states,

“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.”

Should this apply to nudes that are part of an artistic endeavor, or “content of personal importance,” such as Gracie Hagen’s photographs (featured above)? Why has Facebook never flagged any other post of ours, others of which also feature a comparable amount of nudity (featured below)?

It’s safe to assume that our post was targeted because it received viral Facebook exposure, inviting the scrutiny of many Facebook users who may or may not recognize nudity’s artistic value – any Facebook user can flag a post as inappropriate and subject that post to the review of Facebook’s moderators. Who are Facebook’s moderators? They are (unsurprisingly) employees who are outsourced to 3rd world countries, where they typically receive around $1/hour for the work of wading through what is sure to be the dirtiest and unsettling parts of the internet. Once a moderator receives a flagged post, they can confirm it’s a violation, dismiss it, or escalate it. (Escalation is reserved for posts that could be illegal or are remarkably insidious). Moderators are to follow a detailed guidebook, first uncovered by Gawker, which specifically states, “Art nudity ok” with regard to nudity on Facebook. (Though experience suggests Facebook may only consider illustrations and sculptures of nudes okay.)

Embroidered Status Updates And Google Maps Show Social Media As A Work Of Art

Colleen Merrill - Fiber Arts

Colleen Merrill - Fiber Arts   Colleen Merrill - Fiber Arts

Colleen Toutant Merrill works in fiber– from stitching to embroidery; and interestingly enough, it makes sense that she would use such a traditional folk medium to examine contemporary subject matter such as social media, Google, and Google Maps. These Internet resources are, essentially, a modern day electronic quilt of sorts, piecing together not only our societal curiosities or interests, but also our performative identities in a community.

On this note, Merrill explains, “Quilting bees and embroidery traditionally served as social outlets and communication. Quilts and embroidery both have encoded symbolism and explicit messages as do digital communications.”

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LIKE KNOWS LIKE: Artist Interviews In The Age Of Social Media

LIKE KNOWS LIKE is an ongoing video series inspired by the globe community of artists now connected with social media. Created by award winning photographer Marije Kuiper and documentary filmmaker Bas Berkhout, the Amsterdam based duo has interviewed a variety of different artists from all over the world that they originally became acquainted with through social media. Watch the videos after the jump.