Facebook Mistakes Elbows For Breasts In Bathtub Photo

Someone at Facebook must have failed anatomy.

The social network took down a photo of a woman in a bathtub who appeared to be exposing her breasts.

In reality, they were her elbows.

The photo was uploaded by Web magazine, “Theories of the Deep Understanding of Things,” to test how the social networks terms of service deal with pictures that are misleading.

The censored photo raised the question of whether the photo sharing website content policies are based on indecency, or the mere appearance of indecency.

The social network quickly took down the photo for violating its service terms.

The magazine wrote, “So here’s last night’s FB alertness test results: FB moderators can’t tell an elbow from a dangerous, filthy, uncanny and violent female breast.”

The magazine continued, “No questions were asked and the post is down. Imagine our surprise.”

The social networking site warned that users who continue to post photos which it deems inappropriate could lose their access to the site. The latest moderation mistake highlights Facebook’s well-meaning, but inconsistent, efforts to moderate so-called “graphic” content from the site.

Recently, Facebook was criticized when moderators blocked pictures of the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, while similar photos of Hamas rocket attacks were still available.

Facebook is moderated by employees in Morocco and other developing countries who are paid one dollar an hour through an online outsourcing company called oDesk.

A Moroccan former employee published a document, distributed to contractors, which revealed that the site informs its employees to delete all forms of sexual activity, even simulated activity where nothing explicit is shown.

Excessive blood and “crushed heads, limbs, etc.” are allowed as long as no insides are showing the employee said.

The oDesk staff members are instructed that the social networking site will not condone “slurs or racial comments of any kind.” Such comments are supposed to be deleted as soon as possible.

However, they may be allowed to stay online if the comments are made in a humorous or ironic way.

What do you think of Facebook’s mistake?