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Facebook removes pic, confuses elbow for breast

A cleverly taken image by a Web magazine is removed by Facebook's censors, because they don't look closely enough at what it really is.

Here's how the magazine now displays it on Facebook.
Theories of the Deep Understanding of Things Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Facebook's breast police might just be more efficient and ruthless than that of several dictatorships.

I imagine them stationed in all parts of the world, trained on anatomical textbooks and pornographic movies, moved at the sight of a breast like a gambler desperate for his horse to cross the finish-line first.

Here a breast, there a breast, everywhere they're abreast of images that Facebook deems offensive -- even if they're merely being displayed to a tiny coterie of friends.

The Web magazine Theories of the Deep Understanding of Things decided to exercise the breast police's intelligence as well as its keen sense of observation.

It put up a photo of a woman in a bath. Her reddish elbow was placed in such a position that an initial glance might deduce certain breast-like qualities -- though lacking certain breast-like qualities too.

Moreover, even if it had been a breast, it would have been one of very unusual geometry.

No matter. The breast police -- famous for once banning a nipple-adorned New Yorker cartoon -- picked up their cudgels and clubbed the image dead.

I am grateful to Petapixel for first dragging my eye toward this tale and explaining the magazine's intentions.

I have had many conversations with Facebook's elbow-greasers about breasts. They are always keen to declare the company is just behaving like any other medium.

Which it isn't.

And that's where the conversation usually ends. Facebook is very comfortable allowing pages for racists, Holocaust deniers and a thousand other lovely types.

But breasts, even those that might be temporarily feeding children, are a threat to the community.

You'd think, at least, that the elbow photo would now be allowed to reappear. It seemed not. For Theories of the Deep Understanding of Things placed an amended image on its Facebook page.

The magazine added this on its page, concerning Facebook's behavior: "No questions were asked and the post is down. Imagine our surprise."

Because I am a crusader for the downtrodden, I contacted Facebook and asked: "This is not a breast. Ergo, it's OK, yes?"

I thought that the colonel of the breast police might need to be consulted with.

However, within minutes, Facebook got back to me and declared: "Of course we allow the picture. We already have restored the photo and sent an apology to the admin."

Here is the terribly offensive elbow image. Theories of the Deep Understanding of Things/Imgur