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Censors at Facebook have determined that a 30,000 year old statue that doesn’t even show nipples is pornographic. A post featuring the Venus of Willendorf was removed even after appeals.
( Helmut Fohringer | AFP | Getty Images )
Facebook has censored an artwork from the Stone Age, the Venus of Willendorf. deeming the artwork to be pornographic. Just an image was posted by the user but it was declared to be inappropriate content.
The Venus of Willendorf is displayed at the Naturhistorisches Museum in Austria.
Venus of Willendorf
An image of the famous statue was posted by artist and activist Laura Ghianda on Facebook. It was removed when the social media website declared its inappropriate content, after four attempts to appeal the decision Facebook still removed the post.
Venus of Willendorf is a statue from the early Stone Age. It was discovered in Austria in 1908. The statue is famous for the details in the carving and its realism. The image is portrayed in the statue is of a woman and depicts the woman’s vagina.
Ghianda posted on Facebook in December 2017 protesting Facebook’s decision to censor the image of the statue. In the post, Ghianda hopes that this censorship can bring more attention to Facebook’s screening practices. She says it’s a “shame” that Facebook declared the image pornographic.
The museum which houses the statue, the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna, appealed the decision to Facebook.
“There has never been a complaint by visitors concerning the nakedness of the figurine,” said Christian Koeberl, the director general of the museum to The Art Newspaper. “There is no reason […] to cover the Venus of Willendorf and hide her nudity, neither in the museum nor on social media.”
This isn’t the first time that Facebook has had a censorship problem with artwork.
Facebook’s Art Woes
An art gallery in Sweden began to censor images themselves before posting them to its Facebook page for fear that it would offend someone. Fotografiska said that the social media giant doesn’t like nakedness, even if it is only portrayed in paintings.
The gallery would add a blue rectangle with the text “Facebook-friendly square.” This was done in reaction to Facebook deleting uncensored photographs by Helmut Newton and Robert Mapplethorpe that were posted by Fotografiska.
Facebook is in a court battle after it removed a 2011 post by a teacher that featured Gustave Courbet’s L’Origine du Monde (The Origin of the World). The artwork is a close-up look at a vagina.
The social network is being sued by Frédéric Durand-Baïssas, a teacher in Paris. He is seeking monetary damages for the removal of his post and his profile. Facebook says it can’t restore his profile because it has been deactivated for more than 90 days.
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