In The Frame
In The Frame
In The Frame

Naked down under: Facebook censors erotic art

by The Art Newspaper  |  10 August 2017
Naked down under: Facebook censors erotic art
Suitable for Facebook: Bernard Fleetwood-Walker's La Toilette
Facebook has censored Fine Art Bourse’s (FAB) adverts for the online auction house’s relaunch sale of erotic art on the grounds of indecency. In 2015, FAB, then based in London, went into receivership shortly before its first sale after running out of funds due to a delay in building the technology required to run the cloud-based auctions. But the founder, Tim Goodman, formerly owner of Bonhams & Goodman and then Sotheby’s Australia under license, has now relaunched the firm in his native Australia, charging a 5% premium to both buyers and sellers and avoiding VAT, GST and sales tax on service charges by running auctions via a server in Hong Kong.

When Goodman attempted to run a series of adverts for his relaunch sale of Erotic, Fetish, & Queer Art & Objects on 12 September, Facebook barred the adverts citing its policy against “adverts that depict nudity” including “the use of nudity for artistic or educational purposes”.

The offending advertisements feature late 19th-century paintings of naked men and women, along with a short video of two men discussing the auction itself. Due to the nature of the auction, any form of content mentioning FAB’s web address now contravenes Facebook’s advertising guidelines.

"Facebook is using its monopoly over social interaction to impose absurd political correctness," Goodman says. "In the wake of the ‘breastfeedergate’ scandal at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London last week, bosoms are being censored again this time by Facebook.” The director of the V&A apologised after staff asked a woman to cover up while breastfeeding at the museum. 

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