Facebook’s seemingly obtuse censorship guidelines have come under fire again after removing an animated breast cancer awareness video, according to the Swedish Cancer Society. The Cancerfonden video, which shows animated female figures with circle-shaped breasts, aims to show women how to self-check for suspicious lumps. “This is information that saves lives, which is important for us,” Cancerfonden communications director Lena Biornstad told AFP. “This prevents us from doing so.”
Facebook drew withering criticism in September when it deleted a post by Norwegian writer Tom Egeland because it featured “The Terror of War,” a Pulitzer-winning photo taken in 1972 that shows children fleeing a napalm attack during the Vietnam war — one of whom is naked. The company initially argued the image violated its rules, before backtracking on the decision.
In March, Australian artist Ella Dreyfus found herself banned from Facebook after posting her own photographs of aging, naked women, in a protest against the narrow “community standards” under which the site operates.
She was motivated to challenge Facebook following its censorship of an image that that showed Aboriginal women whose breasts were visible in traditional ceremonial attire.
The company was also forced to apologize in May for censoring an advertisement featuring plus-size model Tess Holliday, initially saying that the photo, depicting a smiling Holliday wearing a bikini, violated its advertising guidelines by showing an image of “body parts in an undesirable manner.”
As in those cases, Facebook issued an apology over this latest incident of censorship and indicated it would reverse course. “We’re very sorry, our team processes millions of advertising images each week, and in some instances we incorrectly prohibit ads. This image does not violate our ad policies. We apologize for the error and have let the advertiser know we are approving their ads,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.
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