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Facebook beats its breast over New Yorker's heinous nipples

Facebook flexes its anti-nipple muscles yet again by banning the New Yorker from its own Facebook page for a cartoon of Adam and Eve. Eventually, it apologizes.

Mick Stevens/The New Yorker. With permission.

Yesterday, some were terribly excited that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was finally addressing the needs of the peculiar protuberances on Wall Street.

And yet his company still seems to struggle with its attitude to peculiar protuberances that are closer to our hearts.

For Facebook's long-standing objection to nipples has claimed another victim: The New Yorker.

Yes, that familiar peddler of pornographic piffle has had been tweaked by Facebook over a rancid display of nippledom. In a cartoon. In a cartoon depicting Adam and Eve.

As they say in Cockney rhyming slang: Would you Adam-and-Eve it?

The New Yorker itself is bemused by this oddity.

"What we don't like is that we got temporarily banned from Facebook for violating their community standards on 'Nudity and Sex,'" the magazine wrote Monday.

Not even the smokiest pervert could have found an offensively sexual connotation in this cartoon. It depicted Adam and Eve, beneath an apple tree, with the caption: "Well, it was original."

The New Yorker's Facebook page is now fully visible again. However, the cartoon is not plaguing its posts, as far I could see.

Some might truly wonder that whoever wrote Facebook's nipple laws has some serious childhood issues that he (it surely is a "he") needs to work out with a friendly neighborhood psychiatrist or bartender.

Facebook has long had terrible issues with breast-feeding. No, I am not referring to its nurturing of Wall Street. I am referring to its opposition to breast-feeding photos.

It seems that it only takes one person to complain at the mere sight of a mother's nipple, and that shot is yanked like a boorish drunk from a strip club.

Who could ever forget the apogee of Facebook's insanity, when the site banned an Australian jeweler because she displayed nipples -- on a doll?

I have enjoyed several chats with Facebook's spokespersons on this subject. I say "enjoyed" because they are nice people, even when they deliver drivel.

The company's view is that it has the same rules as many other media. Facebook likes to think of itself as a part of the media, when it feels like it. Patently, it is not.

It's a place where people are supposed to be, well, open.

If the Adam and Eve cartoon passed The New Yorker's own guidelines, why wouldn't it have passed Facebook's?

Facebook did bare its breast and beat it -- after I asked the company to justify this nipplemania.

A spokesman told me: "Recently, we mistakenly blocked a cartoon as part of our efforts to keep the site safe for all and quickly worked to rectify the mistake as soon as we were notified."

Panting furiously, the spokesman added: "We have already taken steps to prevent this from happening in the future and we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience."

Facebook's rules don't ban male nipples, naturally. It's the female variety -- even if they are represented by two black-ink dots -- that threaten the well-being of Facebook's delicate community.

This is a community that seems to be daintily comfortable with Holocaust denial pages, Islam hating pages, and racist anti-Aboriginal pages.

Promoting the hate of a religion, race, and ethnicity represents free speech, but the sight of a nipple does not. Yes, perhaps now Facebook will give a little more leeway to cartoons of Adam and Eve, but its Nipple Police will still be on guard, ready to pounce on a stray aureola.

The West Coast is, indeed, the home of enlightenment.