Facebook Removes Elbows That Appeared Lewd: Raises Questions of Censorship

Facebook has been accused of failed media moderation after it removed a photo posted by a user that made lewd suggestions.

A website called "The Theories of the Deep Understanding of Things" attempted to challenge Facebook moderators by posting a user image that technically complied with the terms and agreements of the site. The image however, appeared to show more nudity than it actually did.

The Theories site questioned whether Facebook moderators would acknowledge the difference and remove the image, regardless of what was actually depicted. The response, according to the site, was immediate. The image was removed with the following statement: "We removed the following content you posted or were the admin of because it violates Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities."

One Facebook moderator, who works from Morocco, leaked the company's policy guidelines regarding acceptable media earlier this year. The document states that even images that suggest lewd acts should be removed.

Such decisions however, have been questioned by those who believe that not all of the images that have been edited off of the site should have been pulled. Certain women's groups, according to the Daily Mail, have protested after images of a mother breastfeeding her child were removed.

But the guidelines also attempt to prevent things like online bullying and the promotion of eating disorders and suicide. Still, the site charges that Facebook's motto is to "share with people in your life" and argues that it is unfair to moderate that sharing. Many users disagreed.

"To get a photo taken off FB, someone has to click the 'report this' button. FB doesn't monitor every picture going up," one user argued on the Daily Mail blog. "If this got taken off, its because someone reported it. The poster of this photo can gasp in pretend horror all it wants, but they knew exactly how that picture looked."