Tag Archives: censorship

Censorship of the arts: facebook and Instagram

Update: Shortly after writing this article on Linkedin, I posted this on my facebook on April 3, 2018. Subsequently, I got blocked by facebook for 30 days. I cannot post, like, comment on my main profile, nor can I access my Pages. Even Messenger was rendered unusable. People could message me but I could not message them. It is a harsh penalty that affects my business communication.


(Originally published on April 1, 2018 on Linkedin.)

It is no secret that facebook and Instagram have taken measures to censor male nudity, and has specific guidelines on what is considered permissible within their community standards. I might think it was fine if it wasn’t for seeing many images of women, entirely nude showing their genitals and having their nipples ‘covered’ with 2 Xes or stars. Yes, these are beautiful images of women, yet very much nude. Meanwhile, on my @theasianmale IG, I have my images pulled down within seconds of posting a grid of my nude photography. Yes, there is a double standard.

On facebook, I was banned for 7 days for posting a similar image of 2 guys embracing one another on an LGBT Artist group. Not only could I not post, comment or like on my personal profile, I also could not do anything on my Pages. I was frozen not able to do anything. This has been for many years, and I try to tread carefully by not showing any genitals. Now, I cannot advertise on facebook or Instagram. I have another photographer who has faced the same issues and was blocked for 30 days from posting.

Facebook for me offers the best place for interaction with my friends and fans, who are in my database of collectors. We interact and discuss on Messenger. It has affected my business and my belief that artists such as myself have limited channels to disseminate my work.

I know Linkedin is a place where people are in business, and maybe posting this rant might not be a place for this, but for me, art is my business and social media is vital, but this censorship is slowly suffocating me and others that have no ill intention but to showcase the beauty of the human male body, which is a part of our very nature and being.

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Facebook censors Asian male buttocks

© Norm Yip 2015
© Norm Yip 2015. The middle image was removed by Facebook. 
Several days ago I posted three photographs of a young man, as shown above. All of the images are of him nude. One image is taken from the front, and the other two are of images of him taken showing his buttocks, one showing the actual photograph, and a second image of that in the form of a print. Today, when I opened my facebook app, I was logged out. I thought ‘Not again’. I logged back in and was taken to my offending image, where I had to read a statement that I understood the ramifications of posting images not according to their community standards. I click to agree and a message appears indicating that I cannot post for 3 days. This is not the first time this has happened.

Facebook from the very start has been highly touchy about my photography of Asian male nudes. And the same thing has happened above but without me knowing which image was being reported by whom I call the facebook police. I would then have to go through my images and try to figure out which image it might be that was so unruly to their eyes. Nevertheless, I just took it in and slowly went through the images deleting them one at a time. This one? Hmmm. No, maybe this one.

Looking at the offending image that was so kindly removed, it seems that facebook finds buttocks of a shapely young man in some way offensive. Yes, the guy is nude, and so is the image of him standing. The same image which is printed onto paper however is not removed though. Why isn’t it? It is the exactly the same image.

The fact that the post was done in a Closed group and reported directly by facebook makes it difficult for me understand the reasoning behind the way this image was pulled down. It just doesn’t seem to make any sense.

Apparently, facebook indicates:
“We remove photographs of people displaying genitals or focusing in on fully exposed buttocks.” https://m.facebook.com/communitystandards/?section=1

If the image was deemed a fully exposed buttock, then why was the other photograph of same image not pulled down either? And the countless other buttocks photographs that have been posted in my Asian Male Fan Club? Being one of the moderators, I know what goes up. Previously, I allowed guest photographers to post their image of male nudes with their buttocks exposed, but never allowing fully exposed ones. Oh but wait, what exactly is a “fully exposed” buttock? I need examples. 

To confuse matters more, facebook indicates “We also allow photographs of paintings, sculptures and other art that depicts nude figures.” https://m.facebook.com/communitystandards/?section=1
I feel that my photograph is a work of art and that facebook was wrong for pulling down my image. The amount of buttocks showing is hardly revealing enough to justify the action they took.