Facebook Just Apologised for Banning This World-Famous Painting

Censored by Facebook
Censored by Facebook | © and courtesy Jocelyn Fiorina
Photo of India Irving
Social Media Editor28 March 2018
View

When it comes to art, Facebook has historically taken the approach that any type of nudity is inappropriate, regardless of context, but a shocking apology from the social media giant shows a possible change of heart when it comes to censoring culture.

There shouldn’t be a doubt in anyone’s mind that Eugene Delacroix’s iconic 1830 painting Liberty Leading the People is not in any way pornographic. Yes, it depicts the concept of liberty in the form of a topless woman, her dress fallen from one shoulder, exposing her breasts, but the context is not sexual. The female figure leads the fighters of France in celebration of their victory over King Charles X; she is liberty. She is the saviour of their country. She is known as Marianne and she is a national symbol for the French Republic.

Eugene Delacroix, ‘Liberty Leading the People’ | via WikiCommons

While it is probably fair to say that this portrayal is troublesome from a feminist perspective – why does Liberty need to be partially nude? – it doesn’t feel sexually explicit at all, and as such a critical piece of both French History and art history, it seems like a ridiculous artwork from which to take offence. After all, who is really smashing feminism more, the painter who depicts bare breasts or the company who bans the world from seeing them?

It appears Facebook took note of this question recently when on March 18th they actually apologised for having blocked the image from their site.

Jocelyn Fiorina, a theatre director, had used the painting as part of a Facebook ad campaign for his latest play when he swiftly discovered the ad had been blocked from the site.

In his own words: ‘A quarter of an hour after the advert was launched, it was blocked, with the company telling us we cannot show nudity.’

Anyone who has tried to post an artwork on Facebook can tell you that this type of action is perfectly normal. Fiorina, however, was not taking no for an answer. He reposted the same advert slightly altered, covering the breasts with a banner stating ‘censored by Facebook.’ This version unsurprisingly passed the censor with flying colours.

Censored by Facebook | © and courtesy Jocelyn Fiorina

What is most important however is not the initial ban, but the fact that Facebook actually heard Fiorina’s complaints and apologised. Referring to the blocking of the ad in question an an ‘error,’ Facebook clearly realised somewhere along the way that it was silly and quite frankly detrimental to disallow the use of a powerful and historical work of art.

Paris-based Facebook manager Elodie Larcis made a public statement which reads, ‘The work Liberty Leading the People rightly has its place on Facebook… We have immediately informed the user that his sponsored publicity is henceforth approved.’

Let us hope this is the start of a trend trend towards more openness to nudity in art on the platform going forward. If anything, Facebook is meant to be a place to communicate, and banning artwork seems to go directly against that goal.

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel – and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Epic Trips, Mini Trips and Sailing Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travellers and friends who want to explore the world together.

Epic Trips are deeply immersive 8 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and enough down time to really relax and soak it all in. Our Mini Trips are small and mighty - they squeeze all the excitement and authenticity of our longer Epic Trips into a manageable 3-5 day window. Our Sailing Trips invite you to spend a week experiencing the best of the sea and land in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm – and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Cookies Policy

We and our partners use cookies to better understand your needs, improve performance and provide you with personalised content and advertisements. To allow us to provide a better and more tailored experience please click "OK"