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Is Facebook suppressing this image?

So today a friend of mine shared this great picture* on his Facebook page.



So of course I shared the picture today, too, and saw this evening that another friend shared it as well. But as of now, the shared picture no longer appears on any of our three Facebook newsfeeds. Has Facebook just deleted it? I know Facebook's policy about offensive content sometimes suppresses or censors critical content (try planting a link in Facebook to Seppukoo), but this seems a bit Orwellian (and, at the same time, a bit petty). Another possibility, I guess, is that the FB user whose image link I shared (an unknown friend-of-friend) has deleted it. (If so, why?)

In any case, I'm going to put it right back up in Facebook, and reblog it ad nauseum too. It's too shrewd and wry a point to get lost in (or suppressed by) today's most visited website.

* Not sure who made the picture; I've seen a "Captain Thermostat" credited, but the text is quoted verbatim from a December 2010 Saturday Night Live sketch:


  • I will help you do Facebook Science. (I'm keen on any kind of Science I can do in my sleep, sparing only the energy needed for a few clicks) It has survived a whole 5 minutes and two "likes" on my profile. You seem to have had a turnover of a few hours, so I guess I'll check if it's there in the morning.

    sarah beth January 29, 2011 - 9:14pm

  • so far, so Paranoid Parrot. which is to say, the photo is still on my wall, and on my friends' walls (where i posted it without asking cause i'm a jerk like that).

    sarah beth January 30, 2011 - 5:37am

  • Ditto. But one of my FB friends -- a web developer -- says he re-named the picture to keep it posted.

    Mark A. McCutcheon January 30, 2011 - 10:13am

  • Hm. I gave it the thoroughly uncreative title "untitled.bmp". Maybe if I had called it "facebook is evil and out to get you"? I tend to assume they're up to no good, when things go wonky on Facebook. This woman made the same assumption, and so did a couple of commentators on her post. There's something about Facebook that makes big-brother-style censorship the first thing you think of, even if there are other possible reasons for wonky. And even if you sound ever so slightly crazy voicing it. Maybe collective discomfort about the combo operant conditioning and market research of the "like" button? Or their habit of censoring progressive organizing, breastfeeding, birth, queer activism, queer bodies and outgoing messages, in addition to websites they don't like... they have very weird ideas about "obscene." So I couldn't replicate your results with my experiment, but you're probably still not as paranoid as you sound. Or at least not as paranoid as the parrot.

    sarah beth January 30, 2011 - 6:24pm

  • I did feel ever so slightly crazy for voicing it. ALthough all my friends on FB who'd had it removed did, like me, voice their own ever so slightly crazy concern too.

    But now I feel less so, in light of FB's evident ease with censoring all types of legit organizing. I guess these are important reminders that Facebook isn't a forum for discourse, it's a vehicle for advertising. 

    Mark A. McCutcheon January 30, 2011 - 7:12pm

  • :) My current facebook hobby is making up stories to explain their "targeted" marketing. I guess I don't give them enough to go on ("About me: Don't tag me in photos!!!"). A few weeks ago they showed me ads for a gay men's dating site, a straight women's "find a man" advice magazine... and a psychologist-finding service. Kinda insulting, but I suppose I'd need it, if I couldn't figure out whether I was a gay man or a straight woman. (Today, it's 70% off linens: totally nailed my mad napping skillz).

    sarah beth January 30, 2011 - 7:52pm

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