Jerry Saltz, art critic for the New York Magazine, got suspended from Facebook because the ubiquitous nude art pics on his page conflicted with the anti-nudity policy of the company (theverge). In France a Facebook user went to court because the company had blocked his account. The plaintiff had posted an image of a 19th-century painting depicting a vagina (a photo of Gustave Courbet's L’Origne du Monde/The Origin of the World) (world-arts).
Both issues got a lot of attention in the media. Facebook wasn´t amused. Zuckerberg & Co. responded this weekend with a "clarification" of their anti-nudity rules. They declared they will "allow photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depicts nude figures." But they will still restrict photos of "female breasts if they include the nipple" but will make exceptions for "women actively engaged in breastfeeding or showing breasts with post-mastectomy scarring." (nbcnews)
Scared By Nipples?
What is wrong with nipples? Facebook´s response looks hypocrite and cowardice to me. Ok, people post on their site and it is free. But the company claims to be a social network. I think Facebook`s anti-nudity policy conflicts with the freedom of speech and makes the service boring and sterile.
And there is an alternative: Twitter. They allow democracy and freedom of speech. Twitter doesn`t have problems with sexual explicit content, you could research it there on your own risk. And they don´t gag Jerry Saltz and his kind. Art is a version of free speech and was always provocative, it cannot function when it is gagged.
Twitter is now a much more vibrant place than Facebook and more open. Anybody can make his voice heard, and you can find a lot of opinions - even some which might no please the censors. Contrary to them Zuckerberg & Co. seems to become a place where Grandmas communicate with their grandchildren.
I think if Facebook doesn`t open up it will freeze over the time. The service could become as irrelevant as the Vatican. The Pop is still heard but his power has disappeared.
PS For illustration I used the painting "Bathseba in the bath" (1617) by the Dutch painter Cornelis van Harlem which I found at Berlin`s Gemäldegalerie.