September 9th, 2013
The World Wide Web was set up with high principles, least of all that it should be free to use by and for all. And yet as our everyday world becomes more reliant on digital content, adhering to those founding virtues is not always as simple as it may seem.
News reaches us here at Warpaint of a rather disturbing phenomenon on the part of Facebook which is having a catastrophic effect on the business of bodypainting world wide. Whilst we marvel at the genius of the leading global artists, Facebook seems to be disabling the sites that showcase it as fast as we can feature them.
There appears to be solid evidence of a systematic attack on 100s of fine art bodypainters around the world. Images are being removed, pages are blocked and many have been banned and taken down for violating their policy on nudity or pornography.
Alex Barendregt, founder of the World Bodypainting Association whose page had over 30,000 follower and was recently taken down, is feeling persecuted. “There are literally thousands of bodypainted images of adult men and women with neither clear sexual or pornographic intent nor nudity outside the context of fine art definitions. These images are created and posted by both professional and amateur artists in an open forum to share their work and collaborate with other artists. There are no instances of minors being featured in any of these images,” Alex explains.
Scott Fray, a professional artist and three time world champion bodypainter was recently banned from Facebook. He says in a recent statement, “While it is true that the individual reporting us can do so invisibly and with impunity, this is still consistent with Facebook’s rules, rules we all agreed to on that first day when we signed up for our Facebook account. However, Facebook has set up automated systems which punish people without any actual human beings being involved to oversee the process. I don’t think Facebook is judgmental. They just have automated processes in place and no effective right of reply.”
Ken Goldwasser, producer of Living Art America, a US bodypainting competition held in Atlanta, Georgia comments, “Facebook provides a method to block or ban material that a user may find offensive however, there is literally no way for an affected user to respond to the results of the automated system in place. This is where the real issue lies. There are no channels or methods by which an individual user can petition for relief of an automated decision or file a grievance.”
Jennie Roberts, director of the UK Paintopia Festival, explains the view from the UK, “Hundreds of us have tried numerous times to contact Facebook to try and raise an explanation for these bans but no one will respond to us.” Therefore she started a petition to raise attention towards Facebook with 1000 signatures within the first 24 hours. If you would like to add your name click here.