Monthly Archives: April 2013

Will Facebook’s Obscenity Police Ever Accept Photos as Art?

Yet another article on this subject matter, which can be read here:  In response, I have written a long and detailed comment which can also be read here-under:-

“I have read this subject matter on numerous occasions, the content of which is primarily repetitive, as the issue is always the same. Primarily, Facebook not only have no understanding of the arts, they also have no interest. The owners and the management give the impression of being uncouth and uncultured, so is it any wonder that such issues exist.

Facebook only address such issues after the event (and then only for the select few, as Facebook are essentially impossible to communicate with!). The statement above wherein you write that Facebook’s Frederic Wolens quoted Courbet’s L’Origine du Monde as an example, is amusing to say the least, and simply demonstrates a limited repertoire of excuses.

I am well acquainted with both Frode Steinicke and Luc Wouters and extremely familiar with the absurdity of the ban of Courbet’s L’Origine du Monde. A case where Facebook clearly bit off more than they could chew, and as you correctly state, where as a result “ridiculed around the world”. However, I’m not so sure that Facebook being ridiculed globally is of any major significance to Mr. Zuckerberg , as his image of a corporate dictator, now expands beyond the corporation and constantly spills into the public domain. Effectively, Mr. Zuckerberg has positioned himself as a dictator as to what is and isn’t art and also as a dictator of the public that use the Facebook platform. Effectively, users are frequently disciplined like small children with no means or rights of recourse.

With regard to your proposal that qualified art institutions should be treated differently, I find this ludicrous and in no way taking into account or respecting the status of established art galleries and the artists themselves. Why should the latter be segregated, as without the artists, the art institutions themselves would not exist, in the same way as art would not exist if curatorial responsibilities were left to Facebook (as you rightly point-out).

Additionally, a lot of the censorship resulting in accounts being blocked or disabled seem to amount to nothing more than individual victimisation. If I may take myself as an example, wherein my own personal account is on average blocked for 30 days every 2 weeks or so. As I write my account is blocked, following my having shared (yes shared not posted) a post from my own official artist’s Facebook Page. The post in question was not made by myself, but by one of several administrators of my page. The post pertained to one of my own artworks, which I subsequently shared via my personal page. As a result, my account was once again blocked, yet the artwork in question was not removed or sanctioned in any way. In my opinion, nothing more than pure victimisation.

It is also worth noting that Facebook is awash with pornography or sexually titillating images of zero artistic merit, yet these are seemingly allowed because they apparently do not breach the Facebook Terms and Conditions. Obviously an increasingly ludicrous situation therefore and not one that I envisage is going to improve anytime soon.

Moving to the subject of Pinterest, it is interesting that you should make reference to them. I also maintain a Pinterest account and of late am receiving continued notification of post that I have shared from other pages, which apparently do not meet terms and conditions. However, as it is not I who made these posts (I simply shared them!), it’s not quite clear why I am receiving notice of posts pertaining to another party. I also maintain a Pinterest Board which depicts my own artworks, none of which have been removed to date, the majority of which have elements of nudity. I have written to Pinterest on this subject (as least they have a basis of communication, which is more than can be said for Facebook!), informing them that I am opposed to them imposing their censorship policies, especially where the posts do not pertain to me. However, I have also notified them that should any of my own artwork posts be deleted, I will close my account forthwith, as under no circumstances will I condone censorship of the arts (the message in question may be viewed via my blog: This resulted in a standard generic response, to which I again replied, indicating that the issue required a response from a living person. To date, no further reply has been forthcoming, which suggests one of several possibilities. Either Pinterest have no living persons and are thus unable to reply, do not know how to reply or lastly have simply decided not to reply. Whatever the excuse, no reply comes as no major surprise. Ultimately however, Pinterest are not Facebook, and if they decide to follow the route of Facebook, I would not wish to bet money as to the duration they will continue to be in business.

It’s a sad world in which we live, where censorship policies seem to be more severe than they were back in the middle ages. Is this progress I ask myself, certainly it is not from an artistic perspective.”