Facebook Fails Again By Censoring An Illustrated Gay Kiss

Facebook has a horrible track record when it comes to censoring gay and lesbian kisses. Their policy is so bad in fact that this weekend they censored a kiss between two male cartoons—two very hot male cartoons, but still.

The image shows two sailors — both men — kissing in Times Square under the words “VICTORY IN NEW YORK.” It obviously pays homage to the iconic V-J Day in Times Square photograph taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt, whose Life magazine photo has repeatedly been imitated in movies and broader culture during moments of celebration.

For example, these particular sailors are actually drawn from a memorable Diesel advertisement shot in 1994 by famed gay photographer David LaChapelle.

Hundreds of people had “liked” the image before it was taken down. In a boilerplate message sent to users who had shared the image on their own walls, Facebook cited its indecency policies in general as reason for censorship. The policy bans “content that is pornographic or contains nudity, or is inappropriately sexual.”

Facebook later said the image did not violate the site’s guidelines and then apologized for the inconvenience.

Keep in mind, Facebook uses a mix of human moderators and computer censor-bots to keep dongs and boobies out of childrens’ faces. It’s most likely that some hater saw homos kissing and then flagged the image as inappropriate. Facebook tends to remove first and then apologize only if asked about it, but we wish we could think of some system that would help keep Facebook from removing such queer images.

The company made an It Gets Better video and added “domestic partnership” to its list of relationship statuses, so it’s not like they’re rabidly anti-gay. But we find ourselves wondering how often this happens to straight couples. Maybe we’d feel a bit better if we knew our hetero counterparts get their affectionate photos banned as well.

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  • Q

    That’s it. I’m going to start flagging all pics of my straight friends kissing and see if they are removed. Just dumb…..

  • HAL

    @Q: And that’s any better? The fact is I bet you a lot of non-LGBT images are removed wrongly every day as well as the LGBT ones, we just hear about it less. A site as large as Facebook is bound to have an extremely large volume of abuse reports, if said reports are indeed dealt with by automated systems they probably make various judgment calls that are, inevitably, going to be incorrect.

    That being said, I would imagine that Facebook would require at least some sort of human interaction in the deletion of images which potentially violate guidelines, so one has to account for human error in there as well.

    I’m just saying, there’s a ton of gay pics on Facebook, and it’s not like the company has made a habit of removing them all. It would be nice if we could keep track of hetero vs. homo images removed. Or hell, even just images removed by accident for other issues. I’m sure it’ll be pretty much the same across the board. Alternatively, if they do occasionally get staff members that delete photos of the gays, I’m sure that if it became a habit for them their employment wouldn’t continue for much longer.

  • TomMc

    @Q: Great idea!

  • jason

    I think we need to be very careful how we judge displays of same-sex affection. The girl-girl side of it is open to exploitation by sleazy straight guys. You only have to look at “straight” porn. Girl-girl is there not because it’s respected as an orientation in its own right but because it serves the entitlement fantasies of sleazy straight guys.

    With guy-guy, there is less chance that it is being exploited in a similar way.

  • tazz602

    Q – I’ve been doing that for a while now – any str8 kissing facebook group or pictures (not of my friends) gets reported as offensive. That and any FB group with women in lingerie, swimsuits, etc – exactly the same treatment that has been done to the non-graphic images of hot men in groups I like.

  • Mac McNeill

    Who needs facebook? Geeze you people gotta get a life.

  • James L. Greenlee

    Cartoon? Isn’t that a Herb Ritts photo of Bob and Rod Jackson-Paris?

    ps. I have no idea how to get rid of my Bush-era avatar.

  • merle

    Down with Facebook!

  • Mike in Asheville

    Whats a facebook?

  • Andreas Lights

    All hands are above the waist in this image. Facebook should revoke the reporter on this!

  • Jaroslaw

    I have a whole book by Rob Jackson-Paris with lots of photos. It doesn’t look like either of them to me.

    Now, this is the computer age: There can’t be more than five or six reasons a photo can be flagged. How about making the flagger check one? Inappropriate because (a) hetero porn (b) Gay porn (c)bestiality (d)pedophilia (e) racially or religiously offensive

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