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.

Filed Under: bones, errors, flagging, horse, social media
Companies: facebook


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jun 2016 @ 1:04pm

    So, we have an unfortunately designed illustration
    But do we, though? That your mind and mine went there amidst childish giggling should not condemn the author's intention or prowess. The publisher's response is sensible enough.
    And how stupid would it be to depict the horse upright, "arms" extended beside a human doing the same?

    That said, banning Buzzfeed seems like a bonus.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Jun 2016 @ 1:15pm

      Re:

      That was Tim's point, and thus his use of the word, "unfortunately."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      BAN IT, 9 Jun 2016 @ 8:58am

      Re:

      BULLSHIT. I don't like face-fucknut-book & never have, but this is probably the first thing I agree with them. The thought that 8 or 10 year old kids OR ANYONE for that matter are filling in the obviously omitted details in this illustration absolutely makes me P U K E.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glen Foster, 8 Jun 2016 @ 1:22pm

    Yeah, at first I had horse sex thought but I kept looking at it until I got what they were trying to get across. I'll admit they could have done a little better with a side by side comparison but how they hell would Facebook demand everyone review every single picture?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jun 2016 @ 1:31pm

    There's no way whoever drew that wasn't doing it on a dare.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Capt ICE Enforcer, 8 Jun 2016 @ 1:59pm

    Yup

    I been showing people that way for years.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    OGquaker, 8 Jun 2016 @ 2:18pm

    Finely catching on?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoo_(film)

    Finely catching on?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jun 2016 @ 3:09pm

    Ooh là là

    That horse looks like it's smiling, or at least smirking.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    skeeter, 8 Jun 2016 @ 3:49pm

    A Horse, of Course

    I am troubled as to why they couldn't use a Kardashian as the human example. God knows, there's enough naked Kardashian photos out there that anyone with 10-minutes of Photoshop experience could have drawn the bones on, just because! Maybe, that's why Facebook banned the photo - not enough Kardashian in the photo!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Jun 2016 @ 4:34pm

      Re: A Horse, of Course

      I think the idea that the French would use a Kardashian wuld have a horse's chance in hell and would fall victim to a NIH bias (Not Invented Here). Why not a tasteful can-can dancer?

      I also think they're very naughty to put a naked human in such close proximity to a non-naked horse (clothed exactly as nature intended). But that's the French for you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 8 Jun 2016 @ 6:30pm

    It took me five seconds...

    ...to get past the sexual implications of the two subjects in their awkward position.

    After that the human bent down that way made sense: The horse's forelimbs were made for walking. ours aren't.

    This is how censorship begins. Things start with what is considered popularly obscene. Then they get into what is considered by minorities to be obscene. And then they get into what is just generally kinda odd.

    In the meantime, cat murder videos and ISIL beheadings: AOK on Facebook!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 8 Jun 2016 @ 6:37pm

    Somewhere in there is the incidentally implicative.

    It was a site like buzzfeed that introduced me to the 1950s kid's game Poor Pussy

    As implicatedly inappropriate as it might be, a friend of mine recalls playing it as a girl and it being a total giggle-fest for kids under ten.

    Facebook, and by proxy US society, may just have to get over itself, enjoy the giggle and move on.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dirk Diggler, 8 Jun 2016 @ 6:46pm

    The best thing you can do to fight censorship is to report everything you disagree with. If we all do this it will bog down their system so much that no amount of moderators can silence us!

    I've reported probably 5000 posts on Facebook so far today - and am going to keep at it until they don't have the resources to censor opposing views.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2016 @ 3:03am

      Re:

      If everybody did that, Youtube would be selective about whose reports they examined, and that would give the elites another tool that was not available to the ordinary person.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2016 @ 7:01am

      Re:

      Doing this sort of thing will most likely just get your own account banned.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 8 Jun 2016 @ 7:01pm

    It's Mr. Hands!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Justme, 8 Jun 2016 @ 7:12pm

    Just a thought. . .

    It would seem to me that the smart thing to do would be to let users determine what content they would or would not like to be shown.

    A content filter that was user controlled but that had default setting to protect even the most easily offended would be better for both the users and the company.

    It would keep the user responsible for content and protect Facebook from any liability for user content. It would also lessen the possibility that content filtering could or would be used as a way to shape or manipulate users opinion in any way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 8 Jun 2016 @ 8:20pm

      Re: Just a thought. . .

      But that takes work, and requires personal responsibility, and people still might see something to offend their oh-so-delicate sensibilities... much easier to complain and force everyone else to hide anything that might possibly be seen by someone as offensive so that everyone can go through life without facing anything that might make them feel uncomfortable.

      /s

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jun 2016 @ 8:56pm

    Missing dog

    The picture in my book has a third animal. A dog that fitted right under the human body, with its bones highlighted in the same way.

    Wonder how that got removed from the internet and real world.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2016 @ 2:16am

    Next Time

    Next time stand the horse up on two legs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2016 @ 3:33am

    "Wilburrrrr...."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ed (profile), 9 Jun 2016 @ 6:55am

    You can bet that many of the Facebook "moderators" are graduates of the Tumblr School of Social Justice Warriors. They're triggered by words like "it" or "them" and cannot see anything that doesn't remind them of that time someone looked at them. OMG looked at them!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    SteveMB (profile), 9 Jun 2016 @ 7:45am

    we have an unfortunately designed illustration

    Catherine thought it was just Great.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Tortured For My Faith, 9 Jun 2016 @ 8:41am

    Believe it not

    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..

    I'm still having a hard time believing that Barrack Hussein Obama was legally qualified to be President of the United States of America. Believing this is nothing more than a French physiological illustration will have to go on the back burner.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 9 Jun 2016 @ 12:11pm

      Re: Believe it not

      Some of us would rather have an allegedly illegal Kenyan than a business mogul who spent his prior career taking advantage of corporate law to siphon money from other companies like a sanguiverous parasite pulls blood. Then walking away before the damage is realized and the company crumbles from within.

      And then with all Romney's millions, the only charity to which he spared alms was his own church (which itself is frighteningly stingy about causes outside itself).

      And we have no indicator how Mr. Robber Baron would have fared in the White House. Remember what happened the last time we let a Republican in there.

      Obama is far from a saint, but his crimes have mostly been continuations of Bush policy. I seriously doubt we'd be seeing a different course of action from Romney. He was a stay-the-course kinda guy.

      Except maybe more people would be dying due to lack of medical care. But fuck those guys, right?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2016 @ 12:54pm

    face book employs people with dirty minds.

    The take away is Facebook has a dirty mind

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Cowherd, 9 Jun 2016 @ 2:00pm

    And this is why everyone should just get out of the Dumbbook.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Monday (profile), 10 Jun 2016 @ 2:40pm

    Even a small amount of Education could cure this.

    At work, I put on a notice board with a joke and running fallacy with it. I even wrote the word Fallacy, as in "Guilty of the..."

    I was reported because "She knew what a fallacy is, and it was offensive and disgusting. I bought her a fucking dictionary.

    The picture is worth a thousand words - or maybe a book or two.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
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    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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