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Facebook Censors Neptune Statue Photo, Says Work Of Art Is 'Explicitly Sexual'

3 January 2017, 8:04 am EST By Jessie F. Tech Times
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Facebook is receiving criticisms for blocking a 16th century Neptune statue posted on the social media platform. The historian who posted the image was irritated by the move that Facebook officials say was a mistake.  ( Mark Zuckerberg | Facebook )

Facebook is being criticized for censoring an image posted on the social media platform by an Italian art historian. While censorship, in general, is vital, the current move is facing a controversy as Facebook deemed the Neptune statue photo "explicitly sexual" to be published on the social networking site.

Facebook follows its censorship policy, which filters posts that are not suitable for user feeds. Despite the good intention, Mark Zuckerberg's company's standards are now being questioned by many.

Facebook Community Standards

Facebook says that the goal of censoring its contents is to make the space safe for all its users. The Facebook Community Standards listed down the type of content that can and cannot be shared on the platform. However, the guidelines are now being questioned after Facebook blocked the Neptune statue photo posted by Elisa Barbari, an Italian historian, on her Facebook page.

The statue is at the center of Piazza del Nettuno in Bologna, Italy. It is a 16th century Renaissance work of art obviously rich with historical significance. According to Barbari, the statue is a fitting image to represent her page called "Stories, curiosities, and views of Bologna."

"I wanted to promote my page but it seems that for Facebook the statue is a sexually explicit image that shows off too much flesh. Really, Neptune? This is crazy!" Barbari said.

The Telegraph reported that Facebook blocked the image due to infringement of advertising guidelines. The censorship clearly irritated the historian as well as the public.

"How can a work of art, our very own statue of Neptune, be the object of censorship?" Barbari asked.

Censorship Mistake

In a recent update, a Facebook spokesperson claimed that the censorship was a mistake.

"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," the Facebook spokesperson said.

To rectify the situation, the social media platform issued another statement citing the historical relevance of the statue.

"Because of its status as an iconic image of historical importance ... we have decided to reinstate the image on Facebook where we are aware it has been removed," a Facebook official said.

Last year, Facebook toned down its censorship rules by allowing graphic posts if they're newsworthy. This was after Facebook was accused of censoring the accounts of Palestinian journalists. While the censorship side appears to be strong, Facebook is receiving flak for doing too little to suppress the proliferation of fake news on the social media platform.

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