Facebook’s Nanny State Hurts the World

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Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Founder [Image by TechCrunch CCBY 2.0]

Facebook, the world’s largest social media website is censoring art, while allowing graphic violence and all manner of foul language. Why censor one but not the others? Why censor at all?


Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, Vimeo, YouTube, etc. allow their audiences to self-censor. Why can’t Facebook do that?

Most social media sites let each user determine what types of content they want to see on their own page.  Facebook, on the other hand, is censoring what it thinks you shouldn’t be allowed to view. And its censorship is incredibly arbitrary.

Up until just recently they were removing pictures of nursing mothers and breast cancer survivors. They stopped that because of a public outcry, but they’re still censoring art. I think most people know the difference between art and pornography and would be fine with seeing the former in their timelines (or being able to self-censor it if not).

I believe that the only way they will change is by a massive amount of pushback such as that from the Norwegian Prime Minister and others with clout, and perhaps from regular folks sharing articles like this and talking about it.

Prime Minister Erna Soldberg said, “It is highly regrettable that Facebook has removed a post from my Facebook page. What they achieve by removing such images, good as the intentions may be, is to edit our common history. I wish today’s children will also have the opportunity to see and learn from historical mistakes and events. This is important.”

Professor Philippa Levine, Ph.D, the Mary Helen Thompson Centennial Professor in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin, writes in the Dallas Morning News:

“In 2015, after altering its community standards, Facebook classified nudity alongside hate speech, self-harm, bullying and violence. That is an interesting combination. Why should the naked body be classified as disgusting, hateful and harmful?”

Why is this such a big deal?

Basically it boils down to this: Facebook is an American company (and it owns the most popular photography sharing app, Instagram). Whether we like it or not, America exports its culture all over the globe.  When we allow deplorable practices like this (the shaming of the body itself) we only sow seeds that will harm future generations.

Do we really want to, as a people, export the idea that these simple human bodies, made in God’s Image (the imago dei) are “disgusting, hateful and harmful?” 

I don’t. This international issue is affecting people all over the world.  They are being forced into a very narrow viewpoint by a private company that serves up web pages for millions every second.  It’s time for Facebook to grow up.

What do you think?