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HindustanTimes Sat,25 Oct 2014

Hey Facebook, stop policing

Aakriti Sawhney, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 07, 2012
First Published: 16:40 IST(7/7/2012) | Last Updated: 01:07 IST(8/7/2012)

Facebook is busy banning art it considers indecent, and artists are lashing back in full force. The latest example is of Canadian artist Gregory Colbert, whose picture of a woman and child sitting alongside cheetahs in an African desert, has been attacked. Reason — the woman’s side view shows her naked breast. Soon after the picture was uploaded by the artist, it was pulled down by Facebook authorities, who said it violated the site’s ’community standard’.

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After four days, Colbert re-posted the same image with a red stamp that covered the breast and read, Facebook Censor Here.

“Where I see an image of the harmony, the FB censor sees pornography. FB has deprived me of my rights to share my vision of wonder for nature,” he wrote on his wall.

French artist Gustave Courbet’s painting of a woman’s vagina, called The Origin of the World, was also banned by Facebook. Another young Indian artist, Ari Jayaprakash, suffered the same.

“My photo showed a woman in shower ... someone reported it and FB removed it,” says Jayaprakash.

The art fraternity says the website has no right to play cop.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/7/Facebook-art.jpg

“I think if the model in the picture knows that this artwork is in a public domain and is okay with it, it should not be a problem with anyone. How much of moral policing can Facebook do?” says curator Alka Pande.

Artist Kanchan Chander says, “I feel that Colbert’s artwork from nowhere poses any kind of nudity, and is aesthetically very beautiful. I am totally with the artist.”

When we contacted FB over the matter, they told us,  “We want Facebook to be a place where people can discuss things freely, while respecting the rights and feelings of others ... we will remove any content that violates our terms, which are designed to keep away material that is hateful, threatening, incites violence or contains nudity. We recognise the government’s interest in minimising the amount of abusive content.”


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