How I was censored by Facebook

I was looking for wisdom in the Internet. I do it sometimes, and if search for it carefully, a lot of good advice can be found. Wisdom about running Internet business says: advertise on social media. So I decided to give a try and to run advertisement on Facebook. Small campaign, one group of products, 10 pictures of different items (up to the limit). My big team of media experts, IT specialists, photographers, copywriters and other specialists consists of two people. This means a lot of work, but we love it. All was prepared, ad was send for approval – it’s just formality, which usually takes up to 10 minutes. Not bad, waiting… After a several minutes message arrived:

Disapproved.

Reason: Adult content.

Fine, I had one item described as:

Sexy Naked Lady Cotton Boxer Shorts

Fine, I removed “Naked” from the title and tried again. Still rejected. So I guessed they really didn’t like naked woman on this product:

Sebix - Sexy Naked Lady Cotton Boxer Shorts

It may be seen as sexy, funny or artistic but qualifying this as “adult content” is one step too far in my opinion. Provocative? Little bit. But call it “adult content”? Someone’s here is little bit oversensitive, I believe.

I started to look if I was the only victim of Facebook witch hunt and it looks like there was more stories like this, not always related to business. Some of the most famous were:

Blocking picture of 16th-century statue of Neptune (Piazza del Nettuno, Bologna, Italy).

800(Photograph: Paolo Carboni/Creative Commons)

Full article: Facebook blocks photo of Neptune statue for being ‘explicitly sexual’

It appears that for five centuries Italians didn’t realise they had such offensive sculpture it their city. Fortunately Facebook pointed this out and enlightened us, thank you Facebook! We’re probably need to destroy our European culture as it is not acceptable for social media!

Other example:

Removal of ‘offensive’ video made by Swedish Cancer Society. Video was about cancer awareness, but sensitive team of Mr. Zuckerberg again felt offended. Decision: removal.

facebook-censored-cartoon-breast-cancer-600x486

Source: Facebook censored a cartoon breast cancer awareness campaign

No boobs on Facebook, even cartoon ones, unless they’re square. That was organisation response to this censorshit. I guess this made entire FB team finally proud and happy.


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Source: Cancerfonden organisation website

If picture like this was banned, I realised what was the other problem in my collection:

Sebix - Funny Grandpa and Sexy Grandma Boxer Shorts

Source: Funny Grandpa and Sexy Grandma Boxer Shorts

I appealed FB decision, with no luck however. My hard decision: remove. Both.

One advice if you find yourself in similar situation – if you appeal, don’t expect being treated like human or have your questions and doubts answered. The only effort Customer Service made, was send me their policy (copy & paste exercise). And short information which could be understood as “we do what we please and we may remove what we like with no reason or explanation”.

No more funny stuff then, all was swapped for the only safe option:


Sebix - Classic Plain Boxer Shorts

Source: Classic Plain Boxer Shorts

I was also afraid about other items, as on other pictures I’ve got a kissing couple, provocative fruits and even spiders! Who knows, what else could be seen as unacceptable by Almighty Censors. I lost entire day but ad was finally approved.

There’s a lot more examples of people and organisation being banned for so-called “inappropriate” content. We live in society where freedom of speech (and any form of expression) is one of the highest values. Yet we’re being censored by big corporations which decide for us what is appropriate and what is not.

Have you ever experienced censorship in your life? Share your experience in comments, if you can spare few minutes.

A little bit related entertainment on the end – back in 1963, this was song which happened to be truly controversial. It was even banned in one state in that time!

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