This past weekend, Facebook censored a photo of iconic Danish statue The Little Mermaid for showing “too much bare skin or sexual undertones.” The image was shared by Danish politician Mette Gjerskov as part of a blog post promotion.
“I hadn’t seen it coming that our national treasure would be categorized on the same level as child pornography and that sort of abomination,” Gjerskov wrote.
She appealed Facebook’s decision Sunday night, and the site quickly reversed course on Monday, allowing the image to be posted after all. But it’s no wonder Gjerskov was confused; Facebook’s rules on nudity aren’t always clear, and can even seem contradictory. For instance, Facebook updated its policy in March to allow “photographs of paintings, sculptures and other art that depicts nude figures.” However, Facebook also states that users cannot post “images of people in positions showing or suggesting sex or images of nakedness and cleavage. Not even if it has artistic or educational purposes.”
It’s obvious that Facebook accidentally removed the photo of The Little Mermaid statue by how quickly it acted to reinstate the image, but perhaps the site needs to have clearer rules to prevent this kind of accidental censorship in the first place.