UPDATE: Facebook has clarified the image was removed only in error. In a statement a spokesperson said: ""In an effort to quickly and efficiently process reports we receive, our community operations team reviews many reports every week, and as you might expect, occasionally, we make a mistake and block a piece of content we shouldn¹t have. We can understand how people can be frustrated with this when, as in this case, a mistake happens.”"
Facebook has been criticised for apparently removing a photograph of a lesbian kiss.
To make it worse, the only reason the photo was posted was in order to support International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
The photo was reportedly posted on the site by Italian Carlotta Trevisan, described by local media as a gay rights activist.
The picture in itself is hardly that provocative in the scheme of things, looking more like a stock photo than anything outrageous. But after her friends had a "mixed" reaction to the picture (with one labelling it "disgusting" according to Trevisan, while another said "take it down, I have young children to protect") it seems that several reported the image to Facebook.
The social network subsequently (over) reacted -- again, allegedly -- by reportedly asking her to remove the image for violating "the community’s standards on nudity and pornography". Her profile was later made inaccessible, according to Trevisan.
Fortunately, the situation appears to be resolved: Trevisan's account was restored and she eventually reposted the image.
We should add that Facebook has not commented on the incident, and that its community guidelines specifically allow "content of personal importance" - so this really seems like crossed wires rather than outright censorship. The guidelines state:
"Facebook has a strict policy against the sharing of pornographic content and any explicitly sexual content where a minor is involved. We also impose limitations on the display of nudity. We aspire to respect people’s right to share content of personal importance, whether those are photos of a sculpture like Michelangelo's David or family photos of a child breastfeeding."
"While we encourage you to challenge ideas, institutions, events, and practices, we do not permit individuals or groups to attack others based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition."
Trevisan, though, remains upset at what occurred:
"How can they say a kiss, which is something so loving, is nudity or porn?" she said.