September 9, 2016

What's wrong with a uniform rule at Facebook banning all photographs of naked children?

If you make one exception...
“An image of a naked child would normally be presumed to violate our community standards, and in some countries might even qualify as child pornography,” Facebook said in a statement on Friday. “In this case, we recognize the history and global importance of this image in documenting a particular moment in time.”
So the political use of a child is what gets the exception? I have a particular problem with the use of children in politics, and I see the value of general rules with no exceptions. But here, submitting to pressure, Facebook has made ONE exception. The picture is so famous. It was powerful in its political effect. And this one particular naked girl — in her helpless suffering, with no consent to being seen naked — has been displayed to the world, to millions, for decades. She's the one naked child who must be seen again and again, damn the general rules, because her suffering speaks again for the purposes of a Facebooker who has found one more occasion to use her.

And I'm saying this as someone who has repeatedly stressed the importance of Facebook respecting freedom of expression.

24 comments:

TML said...

What a bunch of total pussies Facebook is (run by).

Spiros Pappas said...

What about baby cupids?

mockturtle said...

I reject any kind of 'zero-tolerance' policy. They should use common sense, if anyone there is in possession of it. The old quote about being unable to define pornography but 'I know it when I see it' isn't far off the mark.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I admittedly just skimmed the article but I never saw what I was looking for--a statement from the subject of the photograph. What's her position on this?

I don't like the bullying nature of social media campaigns. A company makes a decision and they should stick to it.

I also hate when people post naked or nearly naked pictures of their own kids on Facebook. A friend of my husband's posted a pool photo of his three tweenage daughters naked from the waist up but covering their chests with their hands. Does he have any idea what that photo looks like to pedophiles? How easy it is for that to be right clicked and saved? He has 1300 friends and I guarantee not every one of them is pure of heart. Good lord. And another friend is fond of posting bathtub pics, and pics of her boys running around in their underwear. Ugh. Why?!

Hagar said...

I am with mockturtle, and it is still pornography - or "disaster/tragedy porn" - when the Daily Mail, et al. show these pictures with children's faces or women's breast pixellated out. It is just a very annoying form of hypocrisy.

rehajm said...

If you don't go on The Facebook this isn't really a problem.

We'll all get there eventually.

rhhardin said...

Child sexual abuse as a public problem wasn't invented until the 70s. The picture was published in its time to complete indifference.

Child sexual abuse turned out to be a ratings leader in the 70s so is an established public problem now.

So the contradiction is one brought on by the introduction of a new public problem in the interval between original publication and now.

Other new public problems an old person will recognize are drunk driving in the 60s, and loose dogs in the 80s.

Hagar said...

The young girl in the "napalm picture" grew up to be a quite impressive young woman, according to a later article. (and by now, presumably an impressive senior lady.)

openidname said...

Oh, dismount from the high horse, it obviously isn't sexual.

n.n said...

We recognize the historical and global importance of documenting several decades of unprecedented human rights violations under the Pro-Choice Church revealed after removing the veil of privacy from the Planned Parenthood corporation and global abortion industry.

Ambrose said...

It's a private site. They should be allowed to ban or not ban what ever they want. If you don't like it go start your own site. We need to move beyond the notion that every popular thing in country is a public utility that we can all weigh in on.

Kelly said...

A good rule to go by, if the picture is good enough for junior high history books it's good enough for Facebook.

coupe said...

A funny story, I had a picture of Barbie in the bathtub (soap bubbles and all) with just Kens head popping up at her feet.

Bam! Porno. They locked that picture down. Anyway, you won't find me on social media...

Earnest Prole said...

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.

readering said...

Reductio ad adsurdum. Sure, don't use minors in electoral politics. But as an example of the effects of NAPALM in WARTIME? By US forces? Naked, huh? Good thing no one ever saw death camp pictures of Jewish bodies and survivors. Those distended child bellies in Biafra, and all too many other places. Yikes.

virgil xenophon said...

Since I was actually IN Vietnam at the time that pic was taken I feel compelled to point out to those who have forgotten, who never knew, or weren't alive at that time, of the perfidy of the MSM surrounding that photo in promoting their anti-war narrative of US armed forces as "war criminals." At the time that photo was taken it was widely described BY OUR OWN MEDIA to be the result of napalm dropped by callous, bloodthirsty USAF pilots, while in fact it was actually dropped by mistake by our allies, VNAV pilots on their own citizens. This was done DESPITE the photographer who took the picture trying for years in vain to set the record straight. US editors would have none of it. It didn't fit the narrative. And years later, DESPITE there by now being ABSOLUTELY no doubt of the circumstances under which that picture was taken, there has NEVER been a retraction by A SINGLE news agency that had carelessly, maliciously, attributed the event to the USAF. Instead, they simply--as in this instance--remain conspicuously silent on the source of the girls injuries, leaving the uninitiated to draw the erroneous conclusion that this was all the result of the "Ugly American."

Amexpat said...

... the subject of the photograph. What's her position on this?

According to what I heard on Norwegian news last night, the subject of the photograph was critical of FB for banning the picture. This story has gotten a lot of play in Norway. It was a Norwegian journalist who was banned from FB for a short period for posting the photo and being critical to FB for banning it. The Norwegian PM and other leading politicians from all parties posted the photo to their FB accounts in protest.

It's a private site. They should be allowed to ban or not ban what ever they want.

Yes, of course. But free speech means that its many users can protest FB's policy. It's up to FB to decide how to react to those protests.

Also, FB is so persuasive that it functions as a public forum. Sort of like shopping malls in the US, which are subject to some 1st Amendment Constitutional review even though they are run by private companies.

Amexpat said...

That should be "pervasive" and not "persuasive" in the penultimate sentence above.

cyrus83 said...

I happen to think the rule against no nude children is a good rule to have in place with the perverts out there who get off on that kind of thing combined with the clueless parents who might be inclined to share the picture of their baby in the birthday suit because it's cute.

Facebook ran into a problem because in at least one instance, a very famous picture involved a nude child. I've seen the picture and I wouldn't have made an exception. There are any number of places to find that photo, it's best not put on a site where NSFW concerns are real.

tim maguire said...

The world is full of harmless pictures of naked children. If Facebook had a blanket ban, they'd be the only organization in the Western world. And they'd be wrong.

Oso Negro said...

Cyrus83 said "I happen to think the rule against no nude children is a good rule to have in place with the perverts out there who get off on that kind of thing combined with the clueless parents who might be inclined to share the picture of their baby in the birthday suit because it's cute."

Cyrus, that statement works for anything that you might find perverted. 50 years ago, a photo of men kissing would have probably been banned by right thinking people because of "perverts who get off on that kind of thing". There are cultures on the the planet where citizens live perfectly normal lives that include nude children. Ours used to be one of them. Thank God for progress, eh? Homosexuality good, naked children bad.

Joe said...

When you consider how inconsistent Facebook has been, it makes sense to set down some basic rules and stick to them. Perhsps Twitter could do the same. But it's their choice (and their financial losses when it blows up in their faces.)

The negative is that it conflates nudity with sexuality with pornography, which is to dumb down everyone.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Following up on virgil xenophon: The napalm was dropped by South Vietnamese forces, not US, and yet I see the statement to the contrary all the time.

William said...

What stands out in the picture is not the nudity but the pain. I would be in favor of a blanket ban on pictures of all children In extreme pain with hideous injuries.. They're extremely distressing to look at and, more often than not, the story surrounding them is inaccurate. Find some other way to propagate your cause.