Facebook is my friend, except…

A couple months ago, I wrote a column on using the social networking tool Facebook to promote your artistic practice. I myself use Facebook quite often to promote plays I am doing publicity for. One of my current clients, Metamorphoses, is no exception. They are a brand-new company, and don’t yet have a website, so we are using our Facebook event page as a kind of website, with links, photos, etc.

The play (which, by the way, I think is going to be fantastic), is a modern retelling of 10 of Ovid’s Myths. The primary image that we are using to promote this play is this lovely photograph, courtesy of Pink Monkey Studios.

I uploaded this photo to the Facebook page, but today, it disapeared, and I received this email from the fine folks at Facebook:

Vaughn Jones as Eros the God of Love in Metamorphoses
Vaughn Jones as Eros the God of Love in Metamorphoses

You uploaded a photo that violates our Terms of Use, and this photo has been removed.

Among other things, photos containing nudity, drug use, or other obscene content are not allowed, nor are photos that attack an individual or group. Continued misuse of Facebook’s features could result in your account being disabled.

If you have any questions or concerns, you can visit our FAQ page at http://www.facebook.com/help.php?topic=wphotos.

Now, when I uploaded that photo, it never entered my consiousness that this photo might be controversial. And, to be fair, I did violate their terms of use, which, to be honest, I have never read in great detail. They own the site, it’s their call.

Looks like Facebook is your friend when it comes to promoting your artistic endeavor. Except if there’s a photo of a bum involved.

So, I got to thinking… if nudity is at issue here, where is the line drawn? If I am a painter of nudes, would the Facebook powers-that-be consider that to be deletable? How about a photograph of a naked, pregnant woman? I’d love to hear if anyone out there has had a similar experience with Facebook, and what it was about their art that violated the terms of use. And, interestingly, the poster for the show, which I also uploaded as the main image to represent the event, has the same photograph on it, but it was not deleted. So, image alone = violation of terms of use. Image with words and other stuff on it = okay. You understand my confusion.

The other thing that blew me away about this experience was how quickly they found and deleted my photograph. It was only about 24 hours. There must be thousands upon thousands of photos being uploaded to Facebook all the time, how can they possibly keep on track of them all? Again, please, if you have any experience with this, I’m dying to know…

Rebecca is a contributing columnist and founder of Titania Productions, a Vancouver Marketing and Public Relations Company.


  1. I’d hazard that someone prudish saw the pic, and clicked “report this photo” which called it to the attention of the administrators.

    Facebook can make you wonder who your “friends” really are.

  2. they hoeing they self i aint evn upload no picture with nudity just a pic of some regular jean shorts and a t-shirt one question where is the nudity??????????????

  3. I was sent a message from facebook saying I posted a photo that was no aloud …I dont even know what photo it was as I mostly post horse or rodeo shots …I have not posted any nude photos as I do not have any to post …

  4. Hi Rebecca.
    I just had a pic of me removed claiming they do not allow shots of nudity etc, I am very naughty & I must not do it again or I’ll be dammed for all eternity!

    Admittedly the shot had been messed with, a bit of pinching & stretching to make me look like I had a great ass & huge breasts standing next to a pool topless.

    Question is why block it?
    The same shot of me not altered is still there & I see lots of shots of topless guys on ‘faceblock’, how f–ked is this?
    Hey come to think of it there are even pics of topless dancers in my albums how come their not banned? Mmm!

    They also warned ‘we will not except druggie & other types of pics, some of which I agree with, OK.

    So why ‘faceblock’ is it that in my album (for about 1 year now) there is a shot implying drug use?

    ‘Breakfast in Ibiza’
    ‘2 lines of coke, pkt of large papers with dope tin, pkt of Camels & a lighter with a penis on it’. Mmm!

    Why has that not been removed?
    Although I created this shot I suppose its possibly more harmful than a pair of ‘photo shop’ enhanced boobs!
    Come on ‘faceblock if your gonna set rules do your job properly do not mess around!

    Sweetie I do believe that somewhere some sad lonely sod with nothing beet to do is sitting scanning all the pics on faceblock & they see boobs bigger than theirs they block em and the only reason my druggie pic has got through is because they take cocaine to stay awake to scan pics all night! Giggle!
    Whatever, I’m going back to myspace much more civilised!
    Good luck to you flower, Hugs Dizzy x

  5. i had a picture of an ex-friend on facebook that i had edited for her & when we got into a fight she was very immature about it & kept flipping out at me to take it down. i said no its an edit i did & i worked hard on & i took my time to do. its been up there for a while actually since DECEMBER! today however i got the same notice & the picuter was gone. i know there was no nudity, drug use, violence, etc. just a very cranky immature girl. it makes no sense. lets put it this way. im glad im not friends with her anymore. & i never will be again. i think ill go flag some of hers… haha.

  6. This has happened to me personally a number of time recently. They have removed a photo that violates the terms of the contract, and asked that i go through my photos to remove any photos of a similar nature. However, when asked to tell me which shot was removed they could not inform me.

    How is an individual supposed to remove anything similar without knowledge of what was pulled in the first place?

    To further qualify my remarks, I dont have shots with any nudity at all as i know they can and will stick to that point.. I follow to the letter, and many of my shots are of nature or friends… How does that violate the terms?

    The real problem isn’t fb, its the people reporting the photos.. It’s often someone jealous of another and/or someone want to get the poster removed from the site..

    A load of crap for sure, cause if they had a person(not automatic removal of the reported photo) actually review the shot there wouldn’t be an issue.

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