A Geneva art museum has publicly criticised Facebook, saying the company’s censorship policies prohibited it from promoting an exhibit with images of two nude statues.
The Museum of Art and History wrote on Twitter that it had wanted to post pictures of a half-naked Venus and a nude, kneeling man on Facebook to promote their "Caesar and the Rhone" exhibit but were prevented from doing so “because of their nudity."
According to AP, the museum later posted the images on Twitter instead, with the French word for "censored" over the statues' private parts, and posed the question whether it was time that Facebook “changes its policy for museums and cultural institutions?"
The museum's exhibit includes works from the Louvre Museum in Paris, an antiquities museum in Arles, France, and other institutions to convey Caesar's invasion of the Rhone River region running through Geneva and southeast France to the Mediterranean. It opens on February 8th and will run for three and a half months.
The statues in question are the "Venus of Arles", which depicts the goddess posed with one arm outstretched and a robe draped around her waist, while the bronze of a bearded captive shows a man with his hands seemingly bound behind his back.
Facebook has faced criticism in the past over their policing of content in general and on the topic of nudity specifically. For example, the removal of breastfeeding pictures created a backlash in mid-2018 with countless groups emerging to “publicise wrongful removals.”
The company has since released an outline for its policy to define what content Facebook considers in violation of its “community standards.”
The Museum of Art and History’s spokeswoman Sylvie Treglia-Detraz said a first attempt to post the images drew a Facebook response: "We don't allow ads that depict nudity, even if it isn't sexual in nature. This includes the use of nudity for artistic or educational purposes.”