Facebook’s nudity terms, abuse standards, and content moderation: A case were naturist pages are being victimized or discriminated.

The way FB censors nakedness is affecting most naturists in several ways, mainly, that they no longer can see quality naturist material being hosted on naturist sites. On the other hand naturist pages are being victimized by means of blocking and having their content deleted. The owners of naturist pages thereby waste their time and effort trying to abide by FB’s terms yet this does not help them being blocked and having their content removed. Why is this happening?

First of all FB’s nudity terms are very vague and ambiguous. Let’s have a look at them:

Nudity and Pornography

‘Facebook has a strict policy against the sharing of pornographic content and any explicitly sexual content where a minor is involved. We also impose limitations on the display of nudity. We aspire to respect people’s right to share content of personal importance, whether those are photos of a sculpture like Michelangelo’s David or family photos of a child breastfeeding.’

Since we naturists are not porn enthusiasts we agree with FB’s stance against porn. FB’s statement that ‘We also impose limitations on the display of nudity.’ means to us that some nudity is allowed. Then FB goes on to explain that sharing content of personal importance is okay. Since this sentence is under ‘nudity’ it implies that some nudity of importance is allowed. We are bona fide naturists so nude photos are obviously important to us and have no porn value whatsoever! FB continue to explain that these photos may be ‘photos of a sculpture like Michelangelo’s David or family photos of a child breastfeeding.’ According to FB, certain artwork is allowed, however they only mention sculpture.

Given that FB’s terms are very vague and ambiguous one is left to assume what is allowed and what is not.

FB’s CONTENT MODERATION POLICIES

Since FB’s terms offer little clarity, let us now have a look at what is known about FB’s content moderation manuals which are available on various sites such as: https://info.publicintelligence.net/FacebookAbuseStandards.pdf 

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FB’S NUDITY AND PORN CONTENT MODERATION GUIDELINES

So male and female genitalia, female nipple bulges and butt cracks are not allowed in any forms. Naked kids and older minors are not allowed too (how do you determine an older minor?). Naked females breastfeeding are not allowed too.

Now this is interesting, whilst naked cartoons are not allowed  ‘Art nudity’ is supposedly allowed but then how can one describe art nudity as photographic displays such as that of Spencer Tunick constantly gets deleted!

Camel toes and moose knuckles are not allowed. This term means when pants are so tight it makes an outline of the vagina making it look like a moose knuckle, camel toe, or ninja shoe. It could also mean the visible outline / impression of male genitalia under tight clothing.

THE ISSUE

FB’s terms are highly ambiguous yet their content moderation instructions are not very clear either. It is apparent that FB’s are not following these guidelines as various content has been removed and our pages blocked that DO NOT fall under these two guidelines (those for the public and those for its censors).

In our case we had a link to Spencer Tunick’s Greenpeace (climate change) video removed and we were blocked. This video required age verification. Spencer’s videos are certainly artistic and many are done for a good cause yet they are being ‘attacked’ by FB’s morality squad!

FACEBOOKREMOVE

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We also had this photo removed:

Holly Van Voast protesting in New York

Now one can argue that FB’s censors thought that Ms Van Voast was playing with her nipples, however, this was a link to a popular newspaper article about her topless  protests! The fact of the matter is that her nipples are not showing and the only difference between this and a male’s breast is some extra fat tissue!

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We had thought that this photo represents pure artwork with absolutely no porn value! FB’s censors did not think the same and it got deleted and we faced a period block!

Other naturist pages experienced similar actions such as:

 REMOVEDPhoto removed from the Young Naturists of America FB page (so topless with tits covered is the same as a fully naked mother? Or FB thinks that this mum is abusing the child?

fbbreastfeeding

I thought that breastfeeding was okay for FB! So why all these protests that FB is removing such images?

In other words, FB’s censorship has become indiscriminate and non guideline selective. What is obscene is that one is not given a chance to argue their case leading to deleted posts, pages and blocking periods without the possibility of review. In my opinion this is unethical as FB will also have the final say! One dedicates time and effort all for the naturist cause only to fall victim to these ambiguous FB’s terms and indiscriminate censorship moderation policies! What is also obscene is that violent videos such as cracked human skulls and beheading are all OK on FB and fall part of the ‘freedom to express’.

WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?

Hard to tell exactly, however, we feel that it is due to shareholder interest. Since FB is an international private company which employs international moderators all content reports are given great attention in order to protect shareholder interest (keeping FB ‘clean’ and popular)!

Due to a lack of reports of their content, individual pages with little following can host porn postings and other undesirable material that often escape FB’s censors. On the other hand, naturist pages that have a sizable number of likes and thereby more following, by being more susceptible to more scrutiny by ‘morality squads’ are falling victims of individual or group content reporting. Some individuals or groups are making it a habit to act like ‘morality squads’ finding pleasure in reporting content and feeling exhilarated that FB is dependent and often listen and acts to their reports with indiscriminate action on us. This is due that in many parts of the world nudism is seen as ‘dirty’ and sexual in nature. Rather than FB clears this notion by defining clear guidelines and terms it is embarking in a policy to clean up any form of nudity from group pages as they are the ones who get reported most.  This lack of clear guidelines makes content difficult to control and thereby FB resorts to indiscriminate action even on content that actually falls within their given terms! FB’s content moderators are sourced from third word countries and based on a lack of clarity in their terms, one can wonder on the level of training they receive. Some of these censors complain of being humiliated by FB! For example, quoting,  ‘disgruntled former employee of the third party firm, oDesk, who said the $1 per hour he received for screening Facebook photographs was “humiliating” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/facebook/9095968/Facebook-nudity-ban-laid-bare.html).

In conclusion, we agree with having nudity terms, however, these need to be clear. The fact that FB’s content moderation guidelines cover areas that are not in their nudity terms is proof that they want to interpret content how they want and not how it is described in their ambiguous terms that they ask us to follow. This is highly unethical  and is similar to someone driving on a highway that has no speed signs being stopped by police and given a ‘ticket’ for going over the speed limit of 😯 km/hr! FB must stop the indiscriminate victimization of naturist pages and issues clear guidelines to its censors to stop the unethical removal and blocking of content that does not even fall into the ‘naked’ category. FB should also give attention to our feedback and protests and also acknowledge the fact that our settings and most of the links we share are set up for adult viewing and thereby require age verification.  If they want to, FB can indeed strengthen its age verification system. FB’s pursuit to save money by resourcing moderators from third word countries may result in both a lack of adequate conditions for its censors  plus having moderators with a different culture employed to censor content originating from western societies (unhappy censors in a tough job environment?!). This plus the lack of clear guidelines is likely to be a RECIPE FOR DISASTER.

WHAT CAN YOU DO:

Remember that strength comes in numbers! You can air your view by complaining to agencies, mentioning the fact that due to its policies FB is also targeting content that actually falls within their guidelines. Since you are consumers to FB you do not have to live in the US to do so.  Examples of such agencies are:

USA.gov http://www.usa.gov/topics/consumer.shtml

Federal Trade Commission https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1

Complaints Board http://www.complaintsboard.com/

INTERESTING CONTENT:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/02/22/how-facebook-flags-nude-images-without-exposing-your-identity/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/facebook/9095968/Facebook-nudity-ban-laid-bare.html

http://youngnaturistsamerica.com/facebook-censorship-matters/

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=769892926354531&set=a.421428811200946.108108.401645513179276&type=1&theater

http://www.webpronews.com/facebook-content-standards-arty-nudity-okay-moose-knuckles-not-so-much-2012-02

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/feb/21/facebook-nudity-violence-censorship-guidelines

http://www.salon.com/2013/10/24/facebooks_social_justice_problem_is_nudity_really_worse_than_violence/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1TT6CBWNy8

http://www.policymic.com/articles/69893/facebook-s-news-feed-should-include-posts-about-nudity-swearing-and-drugs

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5 thoughts on “Facebook’s nudity terms, abuse standards, and content moderation: A case were naturist pages are being victimized or discriminated.

  1. All true, absolutely. Now, would you have THIS website subject to governmental control as so many of us would have Facebook be? Pretty simple question that most of us have failed to consider. If FB’s content can be controlled via legislation or governmental oversight, SO CAN OURS.

    Think about it. WE don’t NEED Facebook, but we DO need our freedom of expression of our ideas. FB is a free promotional tool which works to our advantage if we avoid being blocked by them by playing by their rules. Would we trade the loss of using FB for having someone else control what WE post? That’s exactly what we’re asking for when we ask for governmental intrusion into FB’s control of THEIR website, and FB is merely a website just like this one, though much more popular. Think about it.

    Seriously, think about it. Do we want to ask the government to control what WE post? Control FB, control us; same legislation, same laws. No thanks.

    • In my opinion FB is the best social network site that simply just has become too big to manage well. They do not even answer Maltese police in investigations (http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20140325/local/Police-frustrated-by-Facebook-when-trying-to-get-information-on-suspects.512044), let alone listen to our feedback. Government should allow freedom but intervene when someone as big and as important as FB are being mismanaged. If FB don’t answer international police that means they are interfering in the course of justice too. FB says it is in the US and thereby US laws apply but isn’t this playing with convenience? Agree that government should not control our freedom but then it should investigate and control some management issue such as blocking and deleting content issues, as in my opinion a good system need to be established were one has a right to appeal a censors decision. Censors and us users need clear guidelines. Unfortunately FB has become too important for many. In Malta most politicians communicate through it. Freedom is important but when you have something as big as FB that is affecting the fabric of whole societies then yes some management controls by the US government should be set up but then this is not easy as FB is privately owned and any new legislation would be challenged!

    • Indeed content should not be subject to government control but unethical standards such as blocking for no acceptable reason should be somehow ensured by an agency.

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