Facebook and Censorship.

When discussing Facebook and content we must consider that according the Facebook terms and conditions any image uploaded to Facebook gives them the right to have a non exclusive royalty free license for it. So essentially, any image uploaded to Facebook is owned by Facebook.

After understanding this we can begin to delve into how and why Facebook regulates it’s users content.

Adrian Chen from Gawker.com provides a look into the development of what Facebook restricts when it comes to the images uploaded between guidelines 6.1 and 6.2 (2012).  Essentially the new guidelines allow trivial things such as bodily fluids (except seamen) to be shown unless there is a human captured also, as well as photoshoped images (as long as they are not “in a negative light”).  From this we can understand that facebook has a firm grasp upon what can and cannot be shown on its domain.

Not only this, but Chen’s second articleInside Facebook’s Outsourced Anti-Porn and Gore Brigade, Where ‘Camel Toes’ are More Offensive Than ‘Crushed Heads’there is discussion on how these filters are in place to keep out ” porn, gore, racism, cyberbullying, and so on.”

In an effort to condense this into 300 (roughly) words I must summarise my following points. I feel it is important for this standard of filtering as Facebook is accessible and encourages its use from minors (13 years and older) so to filter pornographic and obscene images is not a downfall of the company, however as their community standards outline that Facebook aims to;

foster an environment where everyone can openly discuss issues and express their views, while respecting the rights of others

It seems rather counter intuitive that they delete or simply not allow certain images (such as homosexual relationships and female nipples) because it may be a perversion of their values, when their community standards offer an environment of understanding.

Lastly, we may criticise how Facebook trawls through images uploaded to its servers discarding anything deemed ‘inappropriate’ however in as mentioned in my first paragraph, these images now belong to Facebook, so they may do as they wish, they must only take into account social backlash.


Adrian Chen. “Facebook Releases New Content Guidelines, Now Allows Bodily Fluids.” 16 Feb. 2012. Gawker http://gawker.com/5885836/ (accessed 15th May 2015).

Adrian Chen. “Inside Facebook’s Outsourced Anti-Porn and Gore Brigade, where ‘Camel Toes’ are More Offensive than ‘Crushed Heads.’” 16 Feb. 2012.Gawker http://gawker.com/5885714/ (accessed 15th May 2015).




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