We at the ACLU were reassured of one thing this past weekend: Facebook's chest-recognition detectors are fully operational. A recent post of ours, highlighting my blog post about an attempt to censor controversial public art in Kansas, was itself deemed morally unfit for Facebook. The whole episode is a reminder that corporate censorship is bad policy and bad business.
The blog is about a kerfuffle over a statue in a public park outside Kansas City: a nude woman taking a selfie of her own exposed bronze breasts. A group of citizens organized by the American Family Association believes the statue to be criminally obscene (it isn't), and has begun a petition process to haul the sculpture to court (really, they are). Our Facebook post included a link to the blog post and a photo of the statue in question.
Our intrepid Digital Media Associate, Rekha Arulanantham, got word on Sunday that the Facebook post had been deleted, and was no longer viewable by our Facebook followers or anyone else. I duly informed my Kansas colleague Holly Weatherford that the photograph she'd taken had prompted a social media blackout. Then, astoundingly, on Tuesday morning Rekha discovered the ACLU had been blocked from posting for 24 hours, with a message from Facebook warning us these were the consequences for repeat violations of its policy.