Facebook Is Flagging/Banning Accounts For Posting An Admittedly Strange Children's Book Illustration
from the no-leg-to-stand-on dept
I’ll admit that very few things in this existence we all share give me as much pleasure at poking at the prudish censorship employed by Facebook. The overly broad puritanical guidelines, theoretically designed to save our sensitive eyes from anything as horrible as a breast or a penis, often instead results in the censorship of parody, renowned artwork, and bronze statues. That sincere but misguided attempt to keep things PG on its site is inherently funny, but nearly as inherently funny as is the fact that the following image was (rather innocently) included in one of a collection of children’s books in France, entitled Images of Ponies and Horses.
Right about now you’re thinking that you just witnessed a French how-to manual on having a horse be all that it can be inside of you. But it isn’t! Honest! What this actually is is an attempt by the illustrator to show how similar the bone structure of human beings and horses are by aligning their respective physiology in this way. A rep from the publisher told BuzzFeed:
“Obviously, we never wanted to shock our readers with that drawing,” a Fleurus spokesperson told BuzzFeed. “We publish educational books and make realistic or explanatory illustrations. In that case, our goal was to make the child visually comprehend that the bone structure of the horse and the human being are similar,” they said. “Putting them in the same position makes the likening more understandable and concrete.”
So, we have an unfortunately designed illustration that was supposed to be educational now going viral entirely because of the context our own dirty minds adds to the image. BuzzFeed wrote a post on the image, only to find that — you guessed it — Facebook had begun flagging the article as it was being shared on the site.
Well, things got even weirder with this horse thing. Facebook seems to be flagging this article — the one you’re reading right now — as pornography. And then, after Facebook removes this article from your feed, it makes you go through your photos and verify that none of them are pornographic. In fact, Facebook’s moderators seem to find this horse picture so inappropriate, a member of BuzzFeed’s social media team received a 24-hour ban from posting on BuzzFeed’s Facebook page.
And this is why Facebook should get out of the morality business to every last degree possible. An article about a hilarious, but innocent, educational illustration is being flagged, users are being hassled about their other photos on the site, and some folks are even getting banned. Because? Well, because it appears that Facebook moderators have the same perverse baseline psyche as the rest of us, resulting in an image of a man and a horse being compared physiologically becoming suspected horse-man-porn. And the article pointing out what it actually is is the one that got flagged. That’s as much of a failure of this sort of thing as we could hope for.