Recently I’ve been targeted by someone who has been reporting my images as abusing Facebook policy. There are many ways to report abusive images by Facebook but no clear or easy way to appeal the process when the images are not offensive, but artful. The hardest part was that the first of the images that were reported were in a friend’s only album. The idea that a friend reported them was devastating. I personally know 95% of the 4000 people who are my friends on Facebook. The rest I’ve got many friends in common or we are a part of groups with shared interests.
As I’ve shared my struggles in this process I’ve found a mother in Canada who has had her images reported for breastfeeding. More and more people are coming forward sharing stories of how they lost their 5,000 friends account and had to start over from scratch. People have been sending me the images they have had reported. Some are understandable because a nipple is showing. Others are flat out ridiculous.
I was banned for three days from posting and it was a living hell. I live and do business on Facebook. I counted the days and hours. Then finally I was able to post. I changed my image to a picture of myself giving the bird and my cover with a warning of adult content. I was MAD! I started talking about starting a campaign to bring attention to this:
FRIENDS ONLY POST:
I want to do a “Fuck you/Fuck Off” Censorship shoot with any and EVERY model who can come to the shoot. Men, women, tall, short, skinny, curvy… I don’t care. I’m PISSED and from that can come GREAT art. Respond here. No I don’t have a photog. No I don’t have a venue. Everyone who wants to participate let me know and I will create a group for it or an event.
After three hours of freedom, another image was reported, not on my page, but on one I admin. The content wasn’t even something I remember, but it was a bodypainting image. I am currently in the middle of a seven day ban because of it. At this point it is obviously malicious. So how do you tell Facebook that someone is abusing their report image feature? Is it as easy to find as the report button? The answer is NO.
One of my friends is a Burlesque dancer. She was constantly having her fan page reported until she blocked countries with high Muslim populations from viewing her page. The reporting stopped. That is not an option though for a personal page. It seems that if anyone has an issue and reports it Facebook is set up to automatically respond. In essence, if someone finds it offensive, then it is. Period. The image is deleted. Your account, depending on the number of times it has been reported, is given a warning, and then banned based on that number.
Here is the thing. I’m no ordinary person to pick on.
I’m not the type of person to just take it and do nothing but cry and whine about it. Fine. Facebook can treat me like any no name person but that is NOT how I roll. In the few hours I had access I got enough attention to work on creating an event. This is going to start locally but I have a feeling that it has the potential to go larger.
The deleting of these images and accounts IS NO DIFFERENT THAN BURNING BOOKS. You are taking a life journal and erasing it. I remember reading stories about how movements have been created to garner social power to resist a local drug cartel in South America. What do you do when the bully is Facebook’s auto response? Easy. You create a national or international movement so that a response is called for.
I am the wrong woman to piss off. My Facebook saves people’s lives. So if you shut me down that is the equivalent in my book to attempted murder. Someone I love is in a hospital. I couldn’t respond. A mother contacted me asking me to tell her daughter happy birthday because she is alone and looks up to me, and I couldn’t. She looks up to me as a role model because we both stand out. This. Is. WRONG. This is someone who doesn’t agree with what I do, which is NOT against Facebook policy. I am a bodypainter. I am bisexual and love women. The images I had didn’t offend my friends. It offended someone with malicious intent. How do I report THAT Facebook?
So as a result, I have created CENSORED “FU/FO” Photo shoot. Here is the event description:
This is where getting mad meets ART… we are making videos, photos, art, all about FB’s auto delete policy, and banning. Get angry but DO something positive with it!!!
What to Bring
1. You & the image you got deleted if you have it
2. Duct tape
3. Large Black Sharpies
5. Ties (these represent “the Man”)
We have also created a Facebook fan page for this too:
I also had a discussion how these four men decapitating a cat’s head and pictures of it did NOT meet the FB requirement for banning a picture. How is this possible? I don’t understand. Maybe it is not my place to understand. Maybe this is my purpose. To make art, and make a public statement, to rally the troops, and to say this is NOT ok. It is not ok with me and it is not ok with a lot of people. Destroying images and profiles IS the equivalent of book burning, and I am not going to let this go. The fact that someone keeps reporting my images is only adding fuel to my fire. This is America after all. I have a grievance. The more public noise, the more we have a chance to change it. Feel free to join us.
I have found the mailing address for Facebook and I plan to publish it and make it known so that everyone who has ever lost their images due to this can tell their story. We may make a YouTube Channel for it also. Why not? Right? Let’s make this go viral. These are our lives and our memories. This is personal.
Please make a postcard of your image that you feel was unjustly deleted,(add your story if you want) take a digital picture and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org Then mail the original to Facebook:
Attn: Reporting Policy
PO Box 10005,
Palo Alto, CA 94303
Is this article going to piss off a few people? Probably. Is this meant to target any particular group other than Facebook policy makers? Yes, the haters and cyber bullies that report artistic images, breastfeeding mothers, and people who were minding their own damn business. My policy is to live and let live, unless you mess with me and mine. You did, so I mind and I am not going to let it go, so long as you continue to harm others. What I am going to do is create art and a movement for us to express our collective outrage. That’s what healthy people do.
Mythica von Griffyn