Social media giant Facebook suspended the profiles of people who shared an article about aboriginal feminism as it contained a photograph of two indigenous women in traditional attire with bare chests, media reported on Monday.
Celeste Liddle, a feminist and freelance author, gave a speech at the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre’s annual International Women’s Day address here and a version of her speech was shared on Facebook.
The speech included a photograph of two women who were participating in a ceremony wearing traditional body paint with bare breasts, abc.net.au reported.
“The main focus for the entire thing was the intersection between feminism and Indigenous rights,” Liddle was quoted as saying.
During her speech, she also mentioned a TV show trailer that was pulled from Facebook because it featured Aboriginal women painted in ochre for a traditional ceremony.
The show’s co-creator Trisha Morton-Thomas described the decision as “utterly ridiculous”. Morton-Thomas’s collaborators uploaded a video on Facebook to promote their new indigenous black comedy show titled “8MMM”.
“The video had about 30,000 views before it was removed by Facebook and the group received an automatic notification about the video containing potentially offensive nudity,” the report said.
“So the image accompanied (with the speech) that main point that I made, within the context of the speech,” Liddle added.
After the piece was published, Facebook suspended Liddle’s account for 24 hours. It also suspended the accounts of users who had shared the article.
“They suspended it for reasons of nudity, so that’s the reason that they’ve given – nudity and sexually explicit nature,” Liddle said, adding that “they have deemed this picture of Aboriginal women painted up culturally to be nudity and sexually explicit, which it obviously isn’t; it’s women practicing several millennia worth of culture.”
Liddle launched a petition on change.org protesting Facebook’s actions… which has naturally resulted in her being re-re-suspended, this time for three days.
Meanwhile, Facebook defended its action. “We are aware that people sometimes share content containing nudity for reasons like awareness campaigns, artistic projects or cultural investigations,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.
“The reason we restrict the display of nudity is because some audiences within our global community may be sensitive to this type of content – particularly because of cultural background or age,” the statement added.