It happened this week.
Facebook, that ultra mega-behemoth social billboard of the world, banished one of our own Lady Smutters for 24 hours for posting a link on her author page to our Sexy Saturday Round-Up. We don’t know for certain the reason that landed her in Facebook jail. It could be the featured photo that accompanies SSRU every week, that of a woman’s torso whose breasts are covered with the hands of two different men. Or perhaps it was one of the links in SSRU that Facebook objected to. Something a little too “scandalous” for them.
Facebook’s policy for locking us up in the virtual slammer for any period of time is based on whether the posted content violates their “Community Standards.” If you actually take the time to read those standards – and oh yes, people, I have – you’ll see that Facebook lumps together in a single policy the prohibition of both sexual violence and nudity. To Facebook’s way of thinking, the two apparently share equal footing on the scale of badness. In other words, content promoting the sexual exploitation of a minor, for example, is as horrid to Facebook as a photo of a woman’s bare breast. If only I were joking.
The Community Standard policy about sexually exploitive and violent content is this: We remove content that threatens or promotes sexual violence or exploitation. This includes the sexual exploitation of minors, and sexual assault. To protect victims and survivors, we also remove photographs or videos depicting incidents of sexual violence and images shared in revenge or without permissions from the people in the images.
Well, sure. That makes sense. Sexual assault, in addition to being unforgivably atrocious, is illegal. So content promoting such should be and is prohibited. Here’s what doesn’t make sense: the nudity police. Facebook’s Community Standard states: We remove photographs of people displaying genitals or focusing in on fully exposed buttocks. We also restrict some images of female breasts if they include the nipple, but we always allow photos of women actively engaged in breastfeeding or showing breasts with post-mastectomy scarring. We also allow photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depicts nude figures.
Bare breast? Nipple?! Gaaaahhh!!! Look away! LOOK AWAY!! Unless, of course, the bare breast is in a painting. Then you can look all you want. That bare breast, or that exposed penis, as long as it’s in a photo of art, is perfectly OK. OK? But…um…how is that “arty” bare breast different from a photo of a real bare breast? Far as I can tell, all the bits are the same. Breast itself, aureola, nipple. It’s all there, “exposed,” if you will, for inquisitive eyes to view, so why one and not the other? What about if I painted my own breast, took a photo of it, and slapped it up on my page? It’s my own version of art! Would that be cool, Facebook?
The scoop on the nudity ban is that it exists because, “… some audiences within our global community may be sensitive to this type of content – particularly because of their cultural background or age. Right.
Yo, Facebook. Here’s why I’m struggling with that. Think about your whole raison d’être. It’s to be a social networking site where we can share moments, stories, events in our lives with our friends and community. You even state that on your Community Standards page, so I’m not just making crap up here. And again, we share what’s important to us to those in our circle. And, obviously, something that’s highly important to one person may mean diddly to another. But that’s OK. You know why? ‘Cause we’re not trying to share our sh*t with the entire world.
You know what you can do with your Community Standards line about some unknown global community being sensitive to nudity, Facebook? Pound sand. The intent of Facebook was never to set up the morality police. As long as it’s not illegal, there has to be acceptance that nearly every single thing that people post will offend someone, somewhere. I give as an example my dislike of hunting. I’m not a fan. But I get that there are plenty of people worldwide who like it. I also know that some of those people enjoy posting photos of themselves with animals they’ve slaughtered. Guess what I do about those images I’m “sensitive” to? I don’t look at them.
Facebook acknowledges that its members use the site to share their experiences and to raise awareness about issues that are important to them. And, they add: This means that you may encounter opinions that are different from yours, which we believe can lead to important conversations about difficult topics. To help balance the needs, safety, and interests of a diverse community, however, we may remove certain kinds of sensitive content or limit the audience that sees it.
WTF? How exactly does that work? You’re talking out of both sides of your face, Facebook. To have “important conversations about difficult topics” means there may be posted content some people find offensive. That’s the deal. It’s how it works. That’s what you get from that same said diverse community you’re allegedly trying to serve. Unless the diverse community posts stuff you don’t like. Then you just shut it down.
Millennials, it turns out, no longer view Facebook as being cool. Too many “old folks” are using it, including their mothers. They also don’t like the “unapologetic ubiquity” of the site, according to an article on CNBC.com, Why Snapchap is better than Facebook. Those young hipsters have unfriended Facebook ’cause they don’t “like” it anymore. Sometimes, neither do I.
Elizabeth Shore writes both contemporary and historical erotic romance. Her newest book is an erotic historical novella, Desire Rising, from The Wild Rose Press. Other releases include Hot Bayou Nights and The Lady Smut Book of Dark Desires.