Press message // Social Media censors on female nipple and Plein Theater loses facebook page for nipple in poster image of the performance Nouveau Fuck by Cat Smits Company.
Facebook is known for a strict 'no nude' policy, at least not for men, because naked male torsos are no problem at all. Photos that the company views as not allowed will be removed and if you really go too far, your account will be temporarily or permanently blocked. It happened to Plein Theater in Amsterdam East after they posted a photo for the performance Nouveau Fuck by Cat Smits Company. The media company's automated censorship system detected a female breast and nipple — and gone was Plein Theater's 4,000+ followers social media page.
What is absurd is that the page has been completely blocked without warning and it turns out to be impossible for a person to review this. An automatic response will be given to any objections. It seems impossible to contact someone within Facebook and get the page back online.
“Facebook is causing damage to our business. The facebook page was an important place to reach our supporters. We have now lost 4000 followers. We're only just scratching the surface of the corona damage, and now this. We have created a new Facebook page and hope to reach an equal number of followers soon! says director Berith Danse.
The uncensured, female nipple in particular appears to be a no-go, according to the guidelines of Facebook. It is weird that there are no such problems with showing male torso. That's unfair! – the activists behind the Free The Nipple movement have been saying this for years. Berith Danse and Cat Smits underline that thought.
It is remarkable that the programs that pursue sexual freedom are censored online. "Did you know that the female nipple is banned on social media and the male nipple is not?" is one of the quotes from the relevant performance Nouveau Fuck, which is based on Stella Bergsma's manifesto of the same name. “This is exactly what the show is about. It's about skewed relationships, power, minimization and sexism. That my nipple in a campaign image made by visual artist Paulina Matusiak is a reason to take away from a theater is simply absurd.” – Cat Smith.
Berith Danse and Cat Smits are very concerned about our freedom of expression in this time. Billions of people worldwide are active on social media. Behind them are huge American media companies with enormous power, acting as moral judges. An additional concern is that it is not people who judge, but robots, and no contact can be made with the company.
Of course there are categories where censorship is desired. But between the shady categories, nudity, and the female nipple there is still a huge gray area, who are not intended to be sexual and/or offensive. Think, for example, of nudity in art, which is also the case in this situation. Showing nudity has been ingrained in humanity for centuries. In classical art, the nude was used to celebrate the beauty of the human body. That right must not be taken away from us!
If a person within Facebook reads this and has a solution or wants to discuss this, you can contact Plein Theater viaBack to news overview