Facebook Censorship – 16th century art NO – but here’s Approved Meat
16th century art censored in 21st century
The offending image: Facebook banned Elisa Barbari’s photo of the Fountain of Neptune in Bologna, Italy for being sexually explicit. (ELISA BARBARI FACEBOOK)
The majestic bronze statue of Neptune, the Roman god of the sea, has towered atop the fountain in the centre of the Piazza del Nuttuno square in Bologna, Italy since the 16th century.
The historic sculpture has been a tourist attraction for years.
And it appeared to violate Facebook policy.
The social media site faced criticism after it banned an image showing the nude statue, saying it was “explicitly sexual.”
Elisa Barbari, who posts about the history and culture of Bologna on her Facebook page, uploaded a photo of the nude sculpture in late December.
She was shocked to receive the message from Facebook saying it violated its advertising policy.
Barbari told the Star it was “absurd” of the social media giant to censor art.
She added that the statue, commissioned by the Papal State and created by sculpture Giambologna, is a symbol for the city.
“It is a part of us, of our culture, of Bologna,” she said.
“How can a work of art, our Neptune, be the subject of censorship?” she posted on Facebook.
After venting about the ban online, she received hundreds of messages from people around the world, which she said encouraged her “to continue this battle against Facebook’s censorship.”
Facebook has since apologized, saying it “incorrectly” banned the photo of the nude statue.
“Our team processes millions of advertising images each week, and in some instances we incorrectly prohibit ads. This image does not violate our ad policies. We apologize for the error and have let the advertiser know we are approving their ad,” a spokesperson said in a statement to the Star.
But Barbari said she has not received a message from Facebook about the banned photo.
The only message she received was an apology for temporarily suspending her account, which she says did not happen.
“I wish there could be a happy ending. I’d like to be able to use my image of Neptune . . . for an advertisement without being censured. Because it’s absurd to censor art,” Barbari said.
This is not the first time Facebook has come under fire for censoring content.
In September, Facebook was heavily criticized for removing photographer Nick Ut’s Pulitzter-Prize winning picture of a naked Vietnamese girl, Phan Thi Kim Phuc, running down a road after being injured in a napalm attack in 1972, citing child pornography concerns. The social media website eventually backed down and agreed to allow the posting of the iconic photo.
In 2013, Facebook refused to remove a graphic video of a beheading. A spokesperson from the social media website said at the time the content was being shared to “condemn it, which we think is productive.”