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Social Media vs. Nudity


Would photographer Spencer Tunick be better off if he worked for Sports Illustrated? That’s the question Anna Merlan poses in an article of the same name on The Village Voice blog.

By now, most people are familiar with Facebook’s zero tolerance for nudity–and the targets of these policies are not what some may think. Family photos of new mothers breastfeeding their babies, art work, nudists, and nudist businesses have all had their photos deemed offensive by Facebook and removed from the site. In addition, Facebook has issued warnings and shut down pages for non-compliance.

What people may not be aware of is the process of evaluating photos that are deemed acceptable. According to Facebook, with few exceptions, the company does not just pull photos down of their own volition, except those that involve extreme and graphic images of things like child pornography. For the rest of posted photos, a Facebook user has to flag the photo as objectionable.  If a content monitor employed by Facebook agrees, the photo is removed.

The New Yorker cartoons are not immune to Facebook’s anti-nudity stance. Neither is famed photographer Spencer Tunick, who was recently invited to submit photos of his art to Facebook, prior to posting, for approval after Facebook continued to take some of his photos down, froze his account, and occasionally threatened him with the deletion of his page.

According to an article in The Village Voice, all six photos submitted to Facebook by Tunick earlier this month were deemed objectionable. Tunick was instead asked to pixelate the nudity in his photos to make them acceptable. Tunick declined.However, according to The Village Voice writer Anna Merlan, Tunick did find a Facebook page that caught his interest: a page dedicated to the latest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue featuring models wearing only body paint.
Merlan wrote an article for The Village Voice blog titled “Maybe Facebook would let photographer Spencer Tunick post naked pics if he worked for Sports Illustrated.”  Click here to read.
Have you ever had photos removed from Facebook or another social media site? Has your account ever been suspended or permanently shut down?


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18 Responses to Social Media vs. Nudity

  1. Guy Purcella says:

    Yes, I’ve had several photos reported including one of me working naked on a car with nothing showing down below. I was sitting on a stool and you could tell I was nude but nothing at all showed except the side of my hips. My first facebook profile was deleted due to my nudist lifestyle pics which I had intended to only be seen by my nudist friendly fb friends. They are very heavy handed and often ban people without giving you the chance to defend yourself.

    And those who don’t like nudism at all can attack you. The Terra Cotta Inn’s fb page has been having photos reported at a rate of around 8 per day, and they win all the contesting, but someone just keeps reporting them hoping to shut them down.

  2. It continues to be sad that the naked body is seen as treacherous, yet violence, killing, shooting, etc. is somehow OK. How did we go so far astray? When did we leave our natural selves behind and become programmed to accept the message of corporations as correct?
    I feel sorry for our children and grandchildren. Their world will be very different from ours, and not better.

    • Doug says:

      I agree. What a sad thing that my grandchildren are growing up in a world where swimming naked in our backyard pool as a family is seen by many as perverted yet the most grotesque depictions of violence, murder and mayhem don’t even warrant an R rating in most movies any more…

  3. Timm & BJ says:

    I have been banned more than once from Facebook. The last time was for a cartoon take off on the old Coppertone ad showing a little boy running to the beach pulling his pants off. That got me 30 days. Really silly. What people usually don’t understand is that Facebook does not monitor pages. They only act when someone sends them a complaint. And then they do not get both sides. It’s their business and I doubt anything will change.

  4. John says:

    I too, lost my preferred email account on FB because someone reported my avatar, showing me from above the genitals, naked on a beach with a cruise ship in the background. Any person who disagrees with an individual’s ideas or beliefs, can object to something on fb and have the owner warned or banned. That doesn’t seem democratic. After a couple of years, and a request for reinstatement, I have that account back.

  5. Nigel Horspool says:

    I have a similar complaint against Microsoft. They have a zero tolerance policy for pictures uploaded to their SkyDrive cloud storage service, regardless of whether the pictures are made publicly accessible. Since I use a Windows Phone, the normal setting is for photos taken with the phone to be uploaded automatically to SkyDrive storage. Great! Except when I took a few nude photos, totally natural, totally non-sexual photos, it took Microsoft only a couple of days to freeze my SkyDrive and hotmail accounts. I had to send an email of apology and agree to remove the offending photos before the accounts could be unfrozen. Very annoying!

    Now I have automatic uploading disabled on my phone and I manually upload to a Flickr account. I don’t approve of Flickr because it seems to allow absolutely anything to be uploaded (including some very distasteful porn), but I can be sure that my pictures will not get deleted by overzealous puritans who want to impose their ridiculous standards on the rest of us.

  6. Randall Keizer says:

    Yes facebook removes perfectly innocent naturist pictures. But lets people openly post and keep sexually suggestive and repulsive behavior. I am a hunter and trapper also. Not even allowed to put a picture of a animal hanging that has been skinned. But you can have pictures of people dead and bodies dismembered from an accident. I will never figure it out. Need to get a more social competitor. Only on FB now because only way to chat with some friends. Have most of their e-mails now and when I get them all will just e-mail them. I do post what ever I want on my own page.

  7. Tim Dowell says:

    Facebook has every right to ban nudity on their website because it is a public form of media. We as nudist have a responsibility to non-nudists not to offend or temp them. We have to remember that we don’t think the way they do and the naked human form can be objectionable or could temp them sexually. We should keep our photos on appropriate websites and let the non-nudist live the way they choose.

    • Doug says:

      Tim, I have to say: Nonsense! We do not “have a responsibility to non-nudists not to offend or tempt them”. Those who have the perverted view that nudity, in and of itself, is objectionable or wrong offend the hell out of ME. They are the ones who should modify their behavior to show more tolerance. I suppose it’s perfectly OK, in your opinion, if FB refuses to allow an art site to show Michaelangelo’s David???

    • Dan Murphy says:

      I do not accept that “being offended” is a valid reason for someone else to limit my freedom when I am doing them no harm. People were “offended” when blacks sat in the front of the bus or at a “whites-only” lunch counter. People were offended when Jews moved into their neighborhood. People were offended when women demanded the right to vote. In those and many other cases, the law was eventually changed to say that an individual’s right to equal treatment was more important than protecting those who claim to be “offended.” The time is long overdue for the law to move away from its extreme bias in favor of the minority who claim to be offended by nudity. It’s time to tell people who are offended by nudity, “get over it.”

  8. Gentle Bear says:

    funny how FB can post nude children photos they take from your pic’s listed as private and yet you are not allowed to place works of art such as the human body. this happened to a friend and is she pissed, FB using a photo she had shared with only the child’s grand parents but FB placed it out for anyone to see.

  9. Pingback: Social Media vs. Nudity | The Alltogether | simplenaturist

  10. Paul Lawrence says:

    Maybe FB doesn’t look too closely at stuff coming out of South Texas but I’ve not had a problem with censorship. Myself as well as several others (both male & female) pose as life models every Saturday morning for a group of college students, teachers and other adults just interested in drawing the human body from a live model. Many of the artists post their works on a closed FB group page and to the best of my knowledge none have ever been censored. The models are standing, sitting and reclining and poses usually include full frontals

  11. Bill Beckham says:

    I am a believer in free enterprise and free markets. If Facebook, which I no longer use, doesn’t want to have nudity or even suggestions of nudity grace their website, then that is their decision. I see nothing wrong with AANR having a social media page that allows nudists to share their lifestyle with their friends. Can anyone remember Myspace? It has all but disappeared and Facebook will fall by the wayside to. Whenever you start telling people what they can or cannot do, then they will go somewhere else.
    So AANR, I challenge you to have a secure website that all the AANR members and clubs can use without fear of misuse. I for one would love to see the events that my club offers as I live 200 miles from there and can only visit a few times a year. Like minded people will always gather together.

  12. Robert Palmer says:

    The answer is almost too simple. AANR needs to open their own social media. Has AANR approached Facebook to ask about a members only Facebook account with no public posting? Just a thought.

  13. Las Vegas Naturists says:

    fb took down our main picture that show the backside of some of our guest, we had to do some simple editing and draw string bikini on our picture in the same color as their tans, and posted a little note to fb that we change our picture. Then they left us alone after that, still a nice picture.

  14. Lee Parker says:

    For years, I’ve had a fully nude photo on F B and have never had any comment or problem with it.

  15. Henry (Hank) Bulger says:

    One time I got away with an artsy nude. that was when I first started on Facebook. My daughter sent me a response of “The FBP are going to get you. Latter on I uploaded a photo with a lady in a sheer gown posed so only skin and no other body parts were showing and bam. I was censored and warned not to post this type of photos. I thought freedom of expression was what Facebook was suppose to be about.

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