What would you do if you were blocked from Facebook and lost all your photos, friends details, status updates etc?
This morning after my daily rituals, i’ve casually glanced over my inbox to see if there’s anything urgent. I’ve found a message from a friend saying: “Dear, it seems like Your Facebook account has been taken down ?”.
I quickly loaded my facebook account, and saw a big message saying it wasn’t available.
My mind raced.
I’ve lost my facebook profile.
What about all the stuff i shared there for the past few years? My facebook account is a representation of who I am, of the things i do in life, including special moments with lovers, friends and family. Moreover, with nearly 2000 friends, my facebook profile is also a business tool that allows me to maintain relationships with colleagues, clients and prospects.
What would I do now that i’ve lost all that ?
And WHY have I been blocked from Facebook?
I realized that Facebook probably blocked me because yesterday i’ve posted an illustration of a vagina. I’ve been working on creating images for my upcoming book about female orgasm, “Orgasm unleashed – Your guide to pleasure, healing, and power”. I’ve hired an illustrator and received a draft illustration showing a woman’s labia. To be honest I didn’t even like the illustration so much and asked the illustrator for a different style and other changes.
I felt anxious and angry at the same time. Anxious that i might have lost my Facebook data, and angry that someone reported such an innocent photo and that Facebook deleted my account because of that.
I’ve loaded the main page (facebook.com), and tried to login.
So not all was lost.
Facebook informed me that i infringed on the community guidelines regarding nudity, asked me to confirm that i know why that happened and to confirm that I don’t have other restricted content on my profile. I found a message in my FB inbox from someone whom i don’t know, who is not even my friend on FB, saying “Hi Eyal, I feel that this photo is sexually explicit and should not be on Facebook. Would you please take it down?”.
First i was angry at this woman, but that quickly turned into compassion. I guess she’s so disconnected from her body, her vagina and her sexuality, that she can’t bear seeing any depictions of it. Although it’s not scientifically proven, or dis-proven, i believe that people who have an issue with an aspect of their body or their lives, develop illnesses and problems in that area. I believe that women who have problems with their sexuality have a higher risk of attracting abuse, contracting a STD, or having conditions such as cysts or even cancer. I can only hope that she does something about it.
But it’s not about her.
Facebook is the entity who is creating and enforcing these rules. It is a prudent and puritanic gate-keeper that doesn’t allow anything that might offend somebody, somewhere.
Facebook’s community guidelines start with:
Our mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. Every day, people come to Facebook to share their stories, see the world through the eyes of others and connect with friends and causes. The conversations that happen on Facebook reflect the diversity of a community of more than one billion people.
So, does Facebook really helps us feel more open and connected? Does it really reflect true diversity?
The section about nudity appears under the topic “Encouraging respectful behavior”, next to other sections such as “hate speech” and “Violence and graphic content”, and it reads:
We restrict the display of nudity because some audiences within our global community may be sensitive to this type of content – particularly because of their cultural background or age.
What about me? I’m sensitive to this kind of censorship. I’m sensitive to one-sided decisions without the right to discuss or to appeal.
This is the state of society. Shallow conversations are encouraged while an innocent image that promotes education and discussion is removed without warning, and my profile becomes unavailable.
So, i’m back on Facebook, and i’ve got reminded of a thing or two:
- When you post status update on Facebook, it benefits from your creation by displaying ads next to it. Instead, create blogposts on your own blog, and only share the link on Facebook. Any meaningful thing you share is much better off as a blogpost, and can be easily found and shared later. Don’t let Facebook hold or control or benefit from your intellectual property. Use Facebook instead of Facebook using you.
- Your blog content and your mailing list subscribers are your biggest asset. Facebook, pinterest, twitter and the like can disappear tomorrow (remember MySpace?), but you will still have your content and the details of your followers.
- Backup your Facebook account data every month
- Limit the audience of any “sensitive” content you share, even if it’s a link.
- Remove or even block anyone who might report you or your images. I’m still considering if I should block her (we’re not friends on FB), so her tender soul doesn’t get scarred by what i share
- Add [NSFW] or [EXPLICIT] to your facebook posts, even if you just share a link
- If you consider yourself a sexual person, and you believe the world should be more open and permissive about sexuality, start sharing more words and images about your sexual experiences.
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You can “like” me on Facebook (here), but tomorrow i might not be there anymore…