Dozens of activists plopped a giant inflatable boob outside Facebook’s London headquarters to protest the platform’s restrictions on depictions of nudity, the BBC reported Friday.
They were led by Vicky Martin, a medical tattoo artist who specialises in recreating the appearance of areolas on those who have undergone a mastectomy as part of breast cancer treatment. Her Facebook page showcasing her work and clientele was recently flagged and suspended for violating the platform’s community guidelines banning pornography and nudity, which includes certain depictions of uncovered female nipples. After her challenges to the suspension were purportedly met with radio silence, she decided to catch ol’ Zuck’s attention another way: by putting an enormous fake breast, nipple and all, bearing the words “This is art!” on the company’s doorstep.
“It’s about giving women rights to be able to show other women that they look complete again after such a long journey,” Martin told the BBC Friday. “It’s about us being able to show that this is art. It’s not pornographic at all, it’s beautiful.”
Facebook later lifted the ban, telling the BBC its algorithm flagged Martin’s page by mistake.
“Vicky’s profile shouldn’t have been suspended — this was a mistake and we are sorry for the upset this has caused,” a Facebook spokesperson said per BBC News.
While most online platforms have some sort of code in place to moderate what users can post, Facebook’s long list of banned content remains notoriously particular. Though they have lightened up on images of breasts in recent years. Previously its community guidelines stated nipples could only be depicted in the context of breast-giving or the birthing process, and those exceptions have since been widened to include “health-related situations (for example, post-mastectomy, breast cancer awareness or gender confirmation surgery) or an act of protest.”
Given these addendums, in which Martin’s page seems to specifically fall, it’s mystifying why Facebook didn’t backtrack on the suspension immediately. But then I and the rest of the internet would never have learned that giant inflatable boobs were something you could have made, and that would have just ruined the vision for my next birthday party theme.