Facebook Loses “Cool Points” – Censoring Art Getting Ridiculous

Did you know that the CBS Morning Show, Twitter, the local art gallery, and high school art class are way cooler than Facebook? Well, they are, and here is why.

Andrew Zar, owner of Dark Brain Comics (darkbrain.com), has had his own censorship woes with the popular social networking service.

These are all pieces of art that were banned from Facebook – and they were posted on a Facebook page restricted to 18+ year olds!  Each one received a warning about posting pornography (yes, even the Dali painting of a womans’ back).  Yet they are shown on morning tv, in school for minors, on display in open to the public art galleries.

Facebook, once the pride of “cool” for college kids, now can’t allow art to be seen that is freely shown to small children.  How did they fall so far down the censorship hole?  Why is the Facebook service, which cannot be used by people under 12 due to child protection laws and also has the ability to restrict pages to 18+ year old adults, treat all their users like pre-teens?  Is this really what adults want to be treated like?

Perhaps this is the opportunity Google+ needs?  Clearly the “cool factor” is back up for grabs.  For more info on this topic, visit this Facebook page – well, until it is banned.

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Posted in Corporate Censorship
34 comments on “Facebook Loses “Cool Points” – Censoring Art Getting Ridiculous
  1. Chip Keeler says:

    +1 Like. I tried to actually like it (this article), but it didn’t like me back. LOL..

  2. Laird Wilcox says:

    This kind of censorship is very scary. Facebook has almost become an everyday necessity for great numbers of people and we see that it strives to control out thoughts, feelings and ideas. Part of this problem surrounds the fact that the internet is sensitive to control freaks from numerous interest groups. In the case of this kind of mild sexual censorship it may be religious or feminist groups opposed to depicting female sexuality because it’s immoral or in some way degrades women.

    Most of us would see this as absurd, but we don’t solve this problem by allowing some forms of censorship but not others. How about Little Black Sambo, which civil rights groups get apoplectic over whenever it show up, or utterances from Mart Twain’s Huckleberry Finn? The latter examples find liberal anti-censorship activists beginning to make exceptions and engaging in special pleading. “Well, that’s racism,” they might rationalize.

    Whenever you give anyone, any interest group, any lobby or even a widely accepted sentiment a veto over what is depicted and what is not, you have engaged in censorship. If you want to oppose it honestly, consistently and in a way that is most easily understandable, you have to go pretty much all the way. There are some areas that get very close to the fringe where defense is problematic, such as child pornography, but these are pretty clearly defined areas where hot buttons are exceptionally close to the surface. Once you make that particular exception most people understand and can accept the rest of the argument. Be wise, be strong and be honest and we can reduce censorship to a nuisance level in the long run.

    • Andrew Zar says:

      I agree with your point that it is extremely difficult to make a reasonable line in the sand. However, this is life – life is gray, not b&w, and this particular censorship issue is handled by thousands of companies now – some reasonable, some not. Facebook’s stand – that art masters do porn – is very fringe and extreme. Very few companies, outside of those that market to G-rated audiences, take such a stand. The impact of such extreme censorship on a huge community of 750 million people is pretty vast – it shapes thought, it limits creativity – it is designed to create a docile, drooling mass of people who feed Facebook money and don’t get their pulse raised too high.

    • Nick says:

      Is this another attack on the arts in the USA, as they have cut funding for music, drama and art in schools across America for the last 10 years… Is Micheal Angelo’s David pornographic or Lady Justice? Were we that that more liberal 500, yes 500 years ago than we are today? If so, put in a DeLorean and send me back to the uncensored.

  3. Doug says:

    Stop your damn whining

  4. Doug says:

    Your “freedom of speech” is only limiting on THE GOVERNMENT. Private individuals (me, you, Facebook, etc.) have the Right to censor anything they want. Facebook is their site. If they want to keep “art” that they don’t like off their site, that is their Right. Just like I don’t have to hang your “art” on my walls, in my house, they don’t have to let you hang it in their site.

    In a free society, we are free to censor one another on our own property.

    lol, that’s funny. I personally hate Facebook, but if that’s what you gotta tell yourself to make it through the day, then go for it. I just happen to love personal freedom, which includes the freedom to run your business, private life, or website the way you want.

    • Andrew Zar says:

      Your limited view of how censorship applies to 99% of all topics on this site then… really not sure why you are here other than to troll. If you don’t see how media companies use censorship to influence society and our behavior, then you pretty much haven’t graduated from censorship 101.

      A good counter-example to Facebook is Twitter – see how that (very limited) service has so much reach and power? Because it lets people say what they want. When a platform company starts to limit content to control their users, to make moral and ethical decisions for all of their users, you are talking a whole new level of problems. Apple and Facebook are shining examples of this type of thinking.

      Of course, I never buy anything from Apple and I don’t post anything personal on Facebook – if they want to make money off of me, they have to treat me like an adult. Still, that doesn’t prevent me from looking at the company and marveling at how 750 million people enjoy having their drool wiped off their face, their heartrate monitored, and become docile revenue-generating trolls to make FB rich and powerful. Apple fans aren’t any better.

      • Chip Keeler says:

        Which of course, while nothing we use is ever truly “free”… I enjoy my Firefox. Why? Because I have AdBlock Plus. And I see no ads at all anywhere on the web. I use my IOBit to wipe out any trackers and cookies and whatever else I can clean off my HDD, like barnacles on the bottom of a boat…

        I can’t stand that even when they attempt to dictate each and every decision I make by eliminating options and forcing you to choose between what’s left, instead of what’s possible…

        • Andrew Zar says:

          True – but the “we can do what we want because it’s our system” eventually fails. Microsoft couldn’t throw in a free internet browser to Windows – and that is a system they created and we “choose” to use, right? It isn’t as simple as FB and Apple make it out to be.

  5. Doug says:

    I agree. That’s why I don’t *like* either Facebook or Apple. But it is still Facebook’s Right to censor content on their site. I just won’t support them. Up until now I haven’t had much of a choice… I still don’t, but hopefully Google+ won’t be a total flop like the other Google social attempts.

    • Andrew Zar says:

      Sure, they have the right to do what they want. And we all have the right to comment on it. You would be surprised how many people don’t realize that FB feels that Dali and Rembrant are porn producers. Shining a light on that sort of idiocy is part of free speech too, isn’t it? So your comment to “stop whining” is actually very much against the spirit of paying attention and thinking about what you use or support. In effect, you sponsor and support FB’s policies by trying to piss on people who point out their stupidity.

      Just because a company has a right to be stupid, doesn’t make them immune to being CALLED stupid.

  6. Doug says:

    I agree. Point it out all day long. But I just don’t agree with using the word censorship. Censorship, in my opinion, is when the government or other organization that you’re required to abide by, does not allow you freedom of speech. Facebook isn’t something you’re forced to use, therefore it isn’t censorship. Their policies are clearly stated, you agree to them when you join, etc.

    I just feel that using the word “censorship” to describe what Facebook is doing is irresponsible use of the word.

    • Andrew Zar says:

      “Censorship is the suppression of speech or other public communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the general body of people as determined by a government, media outlet, or other controlling body.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship

      Depending on your view point, Facebook is a media outlet or “controlling body” given the very size of their userbase.

  7. Chip Keeler says:

    censorship
    cen·sor·ship
       [sen-ser-ship] Show IPA
    –noun
    1.the act or practice of censoring.
    2.the office or power of a censor.
    3.the time during which a censor holds office.

    cen·sor
       [sen-ser] Show IPA
    –noun
    1.an official who examines books, plays, news reports, motion pictures, radio and television programs, letters, cablegrams, etc., for the purpose of suppressing parts deemed objectionable on moral, political, military, or other grounds.
    2.any person who supervises the manners or morality of others.
    3.an adverse critic; faultfinder.

    –verb (used with object)
    6.to examine and act upon as a censor.
    7.to delete (a word or passage of text) in one’s capacity as a censor.

    The point? Censorship is not limited nor specific to a government, and let’s take another tiny leap into the obvious, and say that these days – Corporations – not “government” are the governing entities in our society. In a world where everything including Senate seats can be bought and paid for by financial backing from one or several corporations, or how the will of the people gets eradicated by giant mechanisms like Wal-Mart… Clearly the money is the power. If we are able to discern the truth – we realize how unimportant and ignorant – it is to place the blame, or responsibility on a “power” which hardly in control of itself, let alone society. So having accepted this truth, let us then say that Censorship is a broadly applicable term and action and can be performed by ANYONE in just about any setting or medium.

  8. Doug says:

    First off, you either A – did not read what I read or B – read into it what you wanted.

    I said “in my opinion” because I know that “in fact” the definition is not as I defined it. That being said, regardless of dictionary definition, when you say censorship, at least in America, you are discussing the violation of Rights. IE – some library or other government office or government sponsored monopoly is trying to censor what we have access to.

    Also, corporations, no matter how horribly you want to paint them, are NOT the governing bodies in our society. I can go out and start a corporation today. Corporations are ran by private citizens who are looking out for their private property. If you were forced to use Facebook, then fine, call it censorship because that’s what it would be. But until Facebook becomes mandatory, it’s not censorship, it’s called following Facebook’s acceptable use policy.

    If you came over to my house and asked to borrow my car and I said yes but only to run to the store and back… and you took it to another friend’s house, then you violated our agreement and you are in the wrong. When you post things on Facebook that are against their terms, and someone complains about it (because that’s what happened here… Facebook doesn’t have enough people to “troll” through all their pics looking for pics to throw out) and they investigate it, and it doesn’t meet their policy… sorry… you are in the wrong, not them.

    And you can complain all day about it and that is fine, but it’s not censorship. And American’s (even though we’ve made much progress in the last 50 years) are still very uncomfortable with the naked human body. Yes it’s unhealthy, but Facebook is conforming to the society that they are in, not forcing people to conform to their arbitrary standards.

    • Andrew Zar says:

      You have your own opinion, but it doesn’t match what the word means by it’s definition – so clearly, many of us will disagree with you 😉

      • Doug says:

        I realize what the definition says guy. I’m not “redefining it.” Obviously, everyone censors. I am censoring myself right now. People censor themselves in public places. Public places like restaurants censor people. It’s all normal and perfectly legitimate.

        What I’m saying and have been saying is that when people get “up in arms” about censorship, it’s because their Rights are being violated. All I’m saying is that your Rights are not being violated. Facebook is not a “controlling body” (no matter how much you want to spin it, they don’t have any control over you unless you give it to them) nor are they like the media outlets that all get their news from pretty much one or two sources.They are a privately owned company. They don’t even have publicly traded stock, so you can’t even make the argument that “oh well the public owns them through shares of stock.”

        Once again, and for the final time. I realize what the definition of censorship is. I’m not tryign to change it. I’m just stating that throwing around the “censorship word” on a “censorship america” site about a privately owned company with clearly defined policies is journalistic irresponsibility.

        But I’m done arguing about this. I won’t be replying anymore.

        • Andrew Zar says:

          Not irresponsible to post on a site about censorship the censorship practices of a huge entity such as Facebook. You intention to slam the journalism of this fails based on the definition of censorship. “any person who supervises the manners or morality of others” CLEARLY this is what FB is doing by setting up a system where you share your own thoughts and photos, but are subject to moral censorship that is pretty extreme.

          I wonder if lawsuits will follow eventually as Facebook is moving to become a version of “PayPal” in the next few years and economic effects will slam the art community pretty hard if people migrate to using FB to pay for services.

          That is coming as the landscape shifts – FB is big enough now to take over other Internet functions and they have already said they will be creating their own form of currency for services running on their network. Building your own economic system for 750 million users is a pretty big deal. So I just don’t dismiss that FB can arbitrarily smack some industries – especially when they follow a very hard-line approach that is not consistent with how things are done elsewhere.

    • Andrew Zar says:

      “Facebook is conforming to the society that they are in”

      Oops! You didn’t read my article after all! I showed you how CBS Morning Show, local museums, and others show this material while FB censors it. So, no, they are NOT conforming to the society that they are in.

      Rembrant, Dali, Picasso are not considered porn by the majority of Americans and are freely shown in public venues and even network tv during the daytime.

      Do read before you criticize.

  9. Chip Keeler says:

    LOL… Clearly we’re not going to reach consensus here.

  10. Sean says:

    If you click on the heading “What is Censorship?” in the top navigation menu, there are several different types listed there, and definitions, etc. Thanks for the healthy discussion everyone 🙂

  11. Chip Keeler says:

    LOL. This just gets more and more interesting… @Andrew… I’m with ya Bro. Doug… I think you’re debating semantics, and missing the point. Entirely.

    • Andrew Zar says:

      😉 The stakes are high for people who work in the art industry. Facebook has a plan to rollout their own economic currency and act as a version of Paypal. (Just like Apple does with the App Store). When you start to isolate and attack specific industries, censorship goes from annoying to evil.

  12. aeliusblythe says:

    I would have stopped using FB by now for things like this, but it’s almost essential for keeping up professional contacts because so many people are on it.

    The debate over whether this is actually censorship (it is) is irrelevant, in my opinion. Let’s not call it “censorship,” let’s call it “pissing people off.” FB may be able to do whatever they want because the people who signed up agreed to their terms, but doing things like this–deleting things that are not porn for most Americans–is basically giving the finger to their users. They’re NOT listening to the majority, they’re silencing their user’s voices. Even if this weren’t censorship (which it is) it’s still a d\ck move by FB because it’s pissing people off. People being their users.

    The users give FB its power. What is Facebook without its users? Silencing them is not a good idea.

    • Andrew Zar says:

      Exactly! Well, here’s hoping Google+ puts up a good alternative – as competition is the ONLY thing that will get FB to change. Pretty much the core truth to all companies – they will get away with what they can, until they can’t. Competition is good.

      There is a line where a company can’t really do what they want with their own system. Like Windows – why can’t they eliminate all other browsers? Because it is anti-competitive. Social Media will be facing some of the similar concerns when they isolate and discriminate against entire types of business (art industry). So far, FB has just beat them down – they got DC to put pants on Wonder Woman to show less skin, for example. That wins because FB is stronger than DC comics in the new world order. Eventually, art companies will band and fight it with lawsuits, I suppose.

  13. David says:

    Facebook is having 500 millions users out of many are young kids, students and family users who lack “artistic” mind to appreciate porn art. Nor are they enough maturity to discern the pro and cons nor the danger of adult world.

    I appreciate the beauty of sex. But quite honestly there is no lack of online users, like me, who are quite happy to take a break from the endless bombardment of “adult” content news, ads and spam on the internet.
    Too much of a good things can become a pain, even something as beautiful as woman and sex

    I say well done facebook on your censorship !

    • aeliusblythe says:

      Ok,
      1) what is “Porn art?” There’s porn and then there’s art. Would porn art be something classy, like Playboy?

      None of the images above are pornographic. For the record, Nudity != Porn, Nudity !=Sexuality (Something people in sexually conservative cultures consistently fail to understand) I studied Anthropology in college, we looked at a lot of videos of naked people in equatorial cultures. I didn’t realize I was actually studying porn. I bet you think this is porn too: http://www.flickr.com/photos/itinerant_wanderer/3166883562/

      and,
      2)I guess you missed this part of the post:
      “they were posted on a Facebook page restricted to 18+ year olds”

      And btw, just because you’re sick of seeing something doesn’t mean you should make it illegal. I’m sick of 300lb people in bathing suits, but I don’t think there should be a law against it. You don’t want to see nudity? Learn to use safe search and don’t go to porn sites. It’s really not difficult to avoid seeing offensive things on the internet unless you are a cave man and only know how to mash your hands on the keys.

    • Andrew Zar says:

      Glad you like the choices FB makes for you – I don’t see how the art posted here, Dali, Rembrant, Picasso – qualify as porn.

      But, worse, is the lack of choices. If you want to not see art from the art masters, then don’t! Use the FB tools to never see pages marked as “mature” and be happy. But limiting what art professionals can or can’t do is way over the line of reasonable.

  14. Jed Jones says:

    Here’s another example of Internet censorship. Young girls in swimsuits are not considered porn, either, except apparently in Alabama where the assault on freedom of expression was savage. Former models, now over 18, are defending their own pictures, for which 3 men are in jail for 16 years. Soviet-style censorship and Burmese-style brutality against artists in the USA. Be afraid, be very afraid.

  15. Kimmy Ray says:

    As a photographer, I totally agree.

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