Is Facebook suppressing this image?

So today a friend of mine shared this great picture* on his Facebook page.

So of course I shared the picture today, too, and saw this evening that another friend shared it as well. But as of now, the shared picture no longer appears on any of our three Facebook newsfeeds. Has Facebook just deleted it? I know Facebook’s policy about offensive content sometimes suppresses or censors critical content (try planting a link in Facebook to Seppukoo), but this seems a bit Orwellian (and, at the same time, a bit petty). Another possibility, I guess, is that the FB user whose image link I shared (an unknown friend-of-friend) has deleted it. (If so, why?)

In any case, I’m going to put it right back up in Facebook, and reblog it ad nauseum too. It’s too shrewd and wry a point to get lost in (or suppressed by) today’s most visited website.

* Not sure who made the picture; I’ve seen a “Captain Thermostat” credited, but the text is quoted verbatim from a December 2010 Saturday Night Live sketch:


Cross-posted from the Athabasca U Landing

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6 responses to “Is Facebook suppressing this image?

  1. I feel slightly less crazy for jumping to such paranoid conclusions about FB, since a student posted this comment on the cross-post of this entry at the AU Landing:

    […] I tend to assume they’re up to no good, when things go wonky on Facebook. This woman made the same assumption, and so did a couple of commentators on her post. There’s something about Facebook that makes big-brother-style censorship the first thing you think of, even if there are other possible reasons for wonky. And even if you sound ever so slightly crazy voicing it. Maybe collective discomfort about the combo operant conditioning and market research of the “like” button? Or their habit of censoring progressive organizing, breastfeeding, birth, queer activism, queer bodies and outgoing messages, in addition to websites they don’t like… they have very weird ideas about “obscene.” So […] you’re probably still not as paranoid as you sound.

  2. So the question has to be asked – did the picture get re-removed after you re-posted it?

  3. No the picture wasn’t re-removed; it’s still there. And a bunch of FB friends re-posted it too, with similarly WTF remarks. (I’ve deliberately stopped using it as my profile pic, though. I think the point’s been made.)
    The first link in my comment’s block-quotation (“this woman”) details a similar case where a posted item was quietly removed, but after the author made a racket, the item was just as quietly replaced. However FB is running its content surveillance and manipulations, it sure is conducive to user paranoia.

  4. i had a similar experience on facebook with a blog post, which was otherwise scholarly, that had a few obscene words in the title; i posted the note and shared it, but it didn’t show up until i posted a status update wondering where it was… then, like magic, it appeared in the feed before the post wondering where it was, to make me look crazy and paranoid.
    and while stumbling around facebook today, more investigations of its censorious habits and their implications popped up, so this seems as good a place as any to collect them.
    – Kissing men = total yuck: http://www.dangerousminds.net/comments/hey_facebook_whats_so_wrong_about_a_pic_of_two_men_kissing/ (includes a bit of discussion of whether facebook’s censors are automated or human, and how they work)
    – Further examples — more ‘serious’ ones involving activist safety and censorship of journalists — and great contextualizing discussion of social media as a “quasi-public sphere” that is “decentralised and privately owned, allowing for whatever corporate standards or terms of use a given company desires to create” at Al-Jazeera English.

  5. academicalism

    Great links; thanks. I’m starting to get annoyed by the ads now popping up with more frequency here in WordPress, but they are if nothing else another sort of reminder of the corporate ownership of today’s dominant social media apps.

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