Spanked by Facebook (again)

ECLIPSE painting by A.D. Cook - CENSORED by Facebook

APRIL 8, 2020

Facebook memory - 6 years agoSo, this morning, Facebook popped up an old memory (as it often does) of a few of the art nude paintings I had shared previously (back in 2014) and invited me to share them again. There is nothing new here; we all get those. And since, ironically, today I am celebrating my 15th year on (member #531), I thought I’d take Facebook up on their offer and share my post from six years earlier again today with my FB friends.

A Long Story Short

Well, to make a long story short and within a few minutes of posting (or sharing, as per their invite), I got a notice from Facebook saying that I had violated their rules, explicitly stating that

Your post goes against Community Standards on nudity or sexual activity.” and “No one else can see your post. Our standards apply globally and are based on our community.

— Facebook

For clarity purposes, ECLIPSE, the image in question, is a painting. Facebook’s rules actually “allow photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depicts nude figures.” (read below)

Regarding art nudes, I can only speak for myself. As an artist, I believe the human body is beautiful.

Anyway, my thoughts and feeling aside, I’m sharing what Facebook sent me; I CENSORED my artwork for your protection (see above). The uncensored version can be viewed here:

Facebook Rules on Nudity or Sexual ActivityI’ve also attached a pic of Facebook’s rules on nudity or sexual activity, which they sent me as a reminder of my indiscretion. Their full definition reads…


14. Adult Nudity and Sexual Activity Policy Rationale

We restrict the display of nudity or sexual activity because some people in our community may be sensitive to this type of content. Additionally, we default to removing sexual imagery to prevent the sharing of non-consensual or underage content. Restrictions on the display of sexual activity also apply to digitally created content unless it is posted for educational, humorous, or satirical purposes.

Our nudity policies have become more nuanced over time. We understand that nudity can be shared for a variety of reasons, including as a form of protest, to raise awareness about a cause, or for educational or medical reasons. Where such intent is clear, we make allowances for the content. For example, while we restrict some images of female breasts that include the nipple, we allow other images, including those depicting acts of protest, women actively engaged in breast-feeding, and photos of post-mastectomy scarring. We also allow photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depicts nude figures.

Facebook - Disagree with censor decision

NOTE: This article was has been updated from the original Facebook post to include additional content and related links.

From what I can tell from Facebook’s rules, angry nipples are OK, breastfeeding pics and scared breast pics are acceptable, but beautiful imagery of a woman’s natural breast is not OK. But they say that art is allowed, except, as it appears to me anyway, not realistic art that represents a non-feeding, non-scared female torso. 

Throughout my art endeavors, it has always been my hope that my art honors and celebrates women. I believe that there can never be enough beauty in the world. I understand that Facebook is not my website – I am only a guest there, and Facebook can dismiss my account or block my art anytime they wish (which is always one of the biggest reasons I recommend artists have their website).

Beyond that, know that censorship in and of itself is a dangerous thing. Today, it’s a visual expression; tomorrow, it’s lyrics. Then what? How far does it go?

To fellow artists and creatives, thank you for sharing about censorship and our diminishing platforms for expressing our creativity.

To Facebook, please consider my post and on the website an act of protest as defined by your rules above.


A.D. Cook

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