Incident 284: Facebook’s Automated Removal of Content Featuring Nudity-Containing Artworks Denounced as Censorship

Description: Facebook’s removal of posts featuring renowned artworks by many historical artists and their promotional content due to nudity via both automated and human-moderated means were condemned by critics, such as museums and tourism boards, as cultural censorship and prevention of artwork promotion.


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Alleged: Facebook developed and deployed an AI system, which harmed museums on Facebook , Facebook users interested in arts and Facebook users.

Incident Stats

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Khoa Lam
Paris court rules against Facebook in French nudity case · 2016

The Paris appeal court has upheld a ruling that Facebook can be sued under French - not Californian - law.

A French teacher won in the Paris high court last year, arguing that Facebook should not have suspended his account because of an ero…

Facebook blocks nude painting by acclaimed artist · 2017

Facebook has blocked an Australian auction house from advertising an acclaimed artist's painting depicting nude figures.

Charles Blackman's oil work Women Lovers features two nude women resting on a bed beside a cat.

Art broker Mossgreen tr…

Facebook angers Flanders with Rubens ban · 2018

The Flanders Tourist Board has written an open letter protesting against Facebook's "cultural censorship" of adverts showing paintings by Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens.

The removed ad featured the artist's The Descent from the Cross, wh…

Facebook Bans Nudity? Social Media Removes Flemish Paintings by Rubens For Nude Content · 2018

Social media giant Facebook may be rethinking on its content policies but is not at the fire of protests from Flemish tourist board. The social media network removed a number of posts featuring paintings by renowned Flemish painter Peter Pa…

Facebook rejects Montreal museum's ad over Picasso nude · 2018

A Canadian museum whose ads featuring Picasso nudes were rejected by Facebook says it is pleased the social media giant is reviewing its nudity policy.

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts online ad for its big summer exhibit was blocked becaus…

Social media companies kept banning pictures of ‘explicit’ art. So, Vienna museums will now post on OnlyFans. · 2021

In late 2017, a woman posted a photo on Facebook of “Venus of Willendorf,” a roughly 30,000-year-old statue that is a famous depiction of women and fertility.

Facebook ruled the picture was pornographic and removed it.

The statue’s home, Vi…


A "variant" is an incident that shares the same causative factors, produces similar harms, and involves the same intelligent systems as a known AI incident. Rather than index variants as entirely separate incidents, we list variations of incidents under the first similar incident submitted to the database. Unlike other submission types to the incident database, variants are not required to have reporting in evidence external to the Incident Database. Learn more from the research paper.