Bologna’s statue of Neptune

Facebook bans photo of Neptune statue for being ‘explicitly sexual’

Facebook’s strict censorship policy has struck again, just last year the giant social network banned several pieces of classic art and photography. Recent news reports that Facebook has yet again blocked a nude photograhh, 16th-century statue of Neptune, claiming that the image is too “explicitly sexual” to be displayed.

The bronze statue of the fountain of Neptune in Bologna’s Piazza del Nettuno,  created in the 1560s by a Flemish sculptor named Jean de Boulogne, has dominated the piazza for almost half a millennium.

The statue which stands in the Italian city of Bologna was uploaded by Facebook user Elisa Barbari. Elisa claims that the photo in question– which shows the stacked naked sea god holding a trident – was deleted by the site after it was shown to be “concentrating unnecessarily” on the human body.

“The use of the image was not approved because it violates Facebook’s guidelines on advertising,” the notice reportedly read. “It presents an image with content that is explicitly sexual and which shows to an excessive degree the body… The use of images or video of nude bodies or plunging necklines is not allowed, even if the use is for artistic or educational reasons.”

Barbari responded by posting another photo of Neptune from behind, along with the caption: “Yes to Neptune, no to censorship.”

“How can a work of art, our very own statue of Neptune, be the object of censorship?” she mused after it was removed. “Back in the 1950s, during celebrations for schoolchildren graduating, they used to cover up Neptune. Maybe Facebook would prefer the statue to be dressed again.”

“In the past, I have flagged inappropriate content to Facebook myself — fake news, violence on animals … Things that really need to be censured, not art. I don’t know what to think, it’s ridiculous.

“I am guessing this hasn’t landed on Zuckerberg’s desk yet. There is nothing vulgar in a work of art.”

Facebook has since had a change of heart, revealing in another statement that the block was an “error”. “Our team processes millions of advertising images each week, and in some instances we incorrectly prohibit ads,” they said. “This image does not violate our ad policies.”