Facebook Backpedals On Ban of Bullfighting Images

A few days ago Facebook launched a ban on images of bullfighting on the social media platform. Now, management has reversed the decision and the gruesome images can no longer be reported as offensive.

It wasn’t only bullfighting images that were to be banned, however, as Facebook recently announced that photos in the “hunting and bullfighting” category that caused offense or upset users could be marked as “inappropriate” and banned.

Animal activists were thrilled by the decision, with Pacma, Spain’s animal rights political party, sending out the tweet: “Facebook admits the extreme violence involved and has included bullfights as a reason to report a photo #stopbullfighting.”

However the Spanish language newspaper, La Vanguardia, quotes sources who complained about the ban, saying bullfighting is recognized in Spain as a “cultural activity” and that it shouldn’t be included in the same category as pornography.

Reportedly the Fundación del Toro de Lidia, an organization that acts in defense of the brutal sport, immediately said they would meet with Facebook executives to discuss the matter and it seems they went ahead and were heard.

The ban was to be part of Facebook’s “community standards,” which users must adhere to on the social media platform. Posting anything against those set community standards can cause comments, photographs or even users to be blocked from Facebook.

On their website, Facebook states: “If you want to report something that goes against our Community Standards (e.g.: nudity, hate speech, violence), use the Report link near the post, photo or comment to report it to us.”

In Spain, the anti-bullfighting movement is gradually making gains and what is termed locally as the “corrida” has already been banned in both Catalonia and the Spanish Canary Islands. Recent polls have shown that 90 percent of Spaniards no longer attend the various bullfighting events in the country, but still support continues.

Summer 2015 turned out to be the deadliest season for bullfighting in recent years with 13 people killed by bulls in bull runs and other related fiestas in Spain.

With the growing animal rights campaigns against bullfighting, it was decided to block any images of the sport, along with any brutal hunting images that might be posted. Then along came the pro-bullfighting aficionados and that decision was reversed.

Reportedly, there has been no official statement issued by Facebook about the reversal of their decision. RT News makes the point that anyone opposed to xenophobia or racism has a problem getting offensive content removed, but once again, bloody and gruesome hunting and bullfighting photos are not included in the reasons to report an image and have it removed.

While animal rights activists continue to push against bullfighting and related fiestas, back in 2013 a law was passed in Spain declaring the practice a “cultural heritage worthy of protection,” an act that has ensured the continuance of the practice in the country.

Reportedly, this was the result of some 600,000 bullfighting supporters signing a petition to support the sport which was presented to the Spanish government, including Mariano Rajoy and the Nobel-winning author, Mario Vargas Llosa.

RT News quotes American writer Ernest Hemingway, who was always a supporter of the practice, as saying, “There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games.”

The animal rights group PETA continues to fight against the sport and is calling for bullfighting schools in Spain to be closed. According to PETA, students as young as 14 are taught to torment and kill young bulls at the schools.

Meanwhile British comedian and pro-animal activist Ricky Gervais continues to campaign against bullfighting and in true form once out sent a tweet which sympathized with a bull after it gored a matador to death.

Meanwhile, despite animal protection groups worldwide fighting to stop the brutal sport, Facebook once again allows images of bullfighting to be posted on their network.

[Photo Madrid bullring via Flickr by John Hietter/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]