Facebook users are outraged that the social networking site has deemed photos of same sex partners kissing to be indecent. The issue was bought to public attention by blogger Richard Metzger discovered that Facebook had removed a photo he had uploaded. “it seems that the sight of two fully-clothed men kissing was too much for Facebook” he wrote. Metzger soon discovered that a page promoting a “kiss in” protest against a UK bar that asked a gay couple to leave had also been removed from Facebook.
This seems like more than a simple mistake, as Facebook policy is not to remove every piece of content that receives a complaint, instead “a Facebook administrator looks into each report thoroughly” A viral online protest has began with users setting their profile picture to an image of same sex partners kissing and posting the following message:
Facebook has declared pictures of same sex kisses offensive and removed these pictures. There is an event in protest of Facebook declaring pictures which show love and affection as wrong. From now till April 27th change your profile picture to two people of the same sex kissing. Showing love and affection is never wrong.
Censorship on Facebook is nothing new. In June 2010, Facebook deleted a ‘Boycott BP’ group, a campaign against the company responsible for one of history’s worst ecological disasters, and the group ‘Free Ricardo Palmera’, a group advocating support for a leftist Colombian guerrilla leader who is a political prisoner in the United States. (the Boycott BP group was soon restored, after an outcry from its large membership). Also deleted was the PFLP Solitarity group, a group initiated by the Workers Party backed PFLP Solidarity Campaign. While this political censorship was not widely criticised, Facebooks enforcement of an outdated morality has triggered a significant backlash.