Facebook ‘sorry’ for censoring nude breasts from iconic French liberty goddess painting
The social media network raised eyebrows recently after its no-nudity policy seemed to go too far once again. Designed to stop pornography and abuse, the policy led to the blocking of the iconic 1830 painting ‘Liberty Leading the People’ by French artist Eugene Delacroix.
However, it soon recognized the error and apologized for banning an online promotion of a play in Paris that featured the cherished work of art. The ‘Coups de feu rue Saint-Roch’ post showed an actor against the backdrop of the painting with a goddess figure, brandishing a French flag and a bayonetted musket, with her dress sliding down to expose naked breasts. A representation of liberty and reason, Marianne is widely viewed as a national symbol of the French Republic.
Fifteen minutes after the post went online, Facebook blocked the ad, saying it cannot show nudity, play director Jocelyn Fiorina told AFP. Marianne’s bare breasts were “sensitive in nature and therefore not allowed,” according to Facebook.
Although Fiorina tried to appeal the decision, the Facebook moderators insisted that nudity was not “admissible” even on a 19th century painting.
In order to comply with Facebook’s rules, Fiorina uploaded the same image with a banner reading “Censored by Facebook” covering the nudity.
However, the social media giant later made a U-turn, saying the work “rightly has its place on Facebook.” Facebook manager in Paris Elodie Larcis said: “In order to protect the integrity of our service, we verify millions of publicity images each week and sometimes we make mistakes.”
Delacroix’s painting is not the first French artwork that has made headlines over controversy with Facebook. Last week, a court dismissed a case brought by a French teacher who claimed the social network banned his account because he posted Gustave Courbet’s iconic nude painting ‘The Origin of the World’ on his page.
Earlier this month, Facebook also apologized for censoring a post displaying a 30,000-year-old nude statue – the Venus of Willendorf. Italian arts activist Laura Ghianda, who uploaded the image of the prehistoric figurine, said Facebook deemed it “a dangerous pornographic” picture.
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