Facebook under fire from Australian art dealer over nudity standards

Australian artist Hadyn John Wilson's "She marked her desire through distance as an inside of two": one of the works ...
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Australian artist Hadyn John Wilson's "She marked her desire through distance as an inside of two": one of the works banned by Facebook (and "made decent" by outraged art dealer Tim Goodman).

According to high-profile Australian art dealer Tim Goodman, if Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg had his way Michelangelo's statue of David would be draped in a respectable loin cloth, while Norman Lindsay's randy nymphs would be relegated to a sleazy back room at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Sydney-based Goodman has come up against Zuckerberg and his Facebook behemoth after the social media site determined art works featuring nudes that he is about to sell to the world were too rude for the global platform.

"It really is ridiculous, censorship by stealth from a self-appointed arbiter of morality … Facebook," said Goodman, the former chairman of Sotheby's Australia. 

Sydney art dealer Tim Goodman: "Facebook is not drawing any distinction between hyper-sexualised images of women, ...
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Sydney art dealer Tim Goodman: "Facebook is not drawing any distinction between hyper-sexualised images of women, pornography, nudity for awareness, nudity for innovation, and nudity in art."

Goodman is planning to launch his new online art auction business to the world on September 11 with an Erotic, Fetish and Queer Art Auction.

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However, Goodman's plans to promote the sale on Facebook with dedicated ads linking back to his website have been thwarted, with Facebook telling the art dealer: "We don't allow adverts that depict nudity, even if it isn't sexual in nature. This includes the use of nudity for artistic or educational purposes."

Goodman obliged when Facebook asked for parts of the images to be "made 'decent' by covering up the offending 'bits'", though his humour was lost on the social media giant when his staff used happy face and thumbs-down emojis to cover various appendages.

Goodman sent Zuckerberg an open letter on Thursday in which he argued the issue was much bigger than launching his auction business.

"I understand the need for an organisation to have standards. It requires great diligence to keep millions of users across a worldwide demographic from getting offended, but your nudity policies are b------- and frankly I am not the only one who's outraged at which sort of material you deem inappropriate," Goodman fumed. 

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"Facebook is not drawing any distinction between hyper-sexualised images of women, pornography, nudity for awareness, nudity for innovation, and nudity in art … The problem is not the fact that you have conservative advertising guidelines, it's that you've designed a system that doesn't allow for real judgment."

Goodman has yet to receive a response from Zuckerberg.

 - Sydney Morning Herald

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