Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Breasts and beheadings

Facebook has decided to let beheading videos back on to the site. Link to the BBC article.

I don't want to watch people being beheaded, and if any of my friends posted a link to such a thing they'd be unfriended pretty quickly. However, I am anti-censorship and don't believe such things should be banned from the internet entirely. It wouldn't be possible anyway. Facebook individually has some pretty weird standards, though.

From the article I've linked to:

Its terms and conditions now state that it will remove photos or videos that "glorify violence" in addition to other banned material, including a woman's "fully exposed breast".

So, no tits. Now, there are plenty of places on the internet to see fully exposed breasts, and again that's fine. What puzzles me is how a naked breast is on the same level as glorifying violence.

Facebook has previously removed photos of mastectomy survivors, link to Huffington Post. These images are often posted by women who want to let other people know that there is life after breast cancer, that they're still women, that their bodies are scarred but alive. There are many instances of them removing photos of women breastfeeding. In many cases the photos have been reinstated, or shared by so many people it's impossible for Facebook to remove them all. These photos come from a position of strength, and I'm tired of women's bodies being viewed as weak or objects of lust. I applaud women who use their bodies in any way that isn't all about men. Videos of beheadings come from a position of violence. I don't know how many of these videos show violence against women, and you'll forgive me for not researching it I hope, but statistically some of them will. I would rather have strength than violence.

Ultimately, my issue with this is that the policies make no sense. If Facebook wants to have a blanket ban on nudity and violence, that's absolutely their prerogative. It's their site, and we're just all guests there. I think what's happened is, rather than sitting down and forming a coherent policy, this has been cobbled together as they go along. It puts breastfeeding on the same line as sexual violence. Of course it's possible Facebook users are reporting images of mastectomies and breastfeeding as obscene, in which case they need to be told to shove it and grow up. There's an intelligent policy in there somewhere. It's up to Facebook to find it.

No comments:

Post a Comment