Perhaps in keeping with their desire to be at the fore of the online dating frontier, it seems that Facebook is allowing profiles that are overtly sex ads. Or perhaps they just are eight years late to the rush to fill the void for online erotic services that was left when Craigslist shut down their ‘Adult services’ section.
Regardless of the reason, we have firsthand knowledge of Facebook not giving a damn about people creating profiles which are clearly for – and only for – offering sex. Nevermind that the person behind the profile is probably some sweaty scammer in a far-off country reeling unsuspecting people in while online from a cybercafe.
Earlier this month, this profile sent us a friend request:
And rather than accepting ‘her’ friend request, we dutifully reported the profile to Facebook.
And, to our surprise (but only slightly) we got back this response from Facebook:
“Thanks for your report – you did the right thing by letting us know about this. We looked over the profile you reported, and though it doesn’t go against one of our specific Community Standards, we understand that the profile or something they shared may still be offensive to you. We want to help you avoid things you don’t want to see on Facebook.
If you think we should look at something specific on this or another profile, you can report that exact content (ex: photo) instead of the entire profile.
From the list above, you also can block Scott Beeker directly, or you may be able to unfriend or unfollow them. We recommend visiting the Help Center to learn more about how to control what you see in your News Feed. If you find that a person, group or Page consistently posts things you don’t want to see, you may want to limit how often you see their posts or remove them from your Facebook experience.
We know these options may not apply to every situation, so please let us know if you see something else you think we should take a look at.”
Now, we could understand if it was an autoresponse. But the response makes a point of saying “We looked over the profile you reported, and though it doesn’t go against one of our specific Community Standards…”.
Which led us to wonder: just what exactly are those community standards?
In brief, here’s what they are:
- Nudity or other sexually suggestive content
- Hate speech, credible threats or direct attacks on an individual or group
- Content that contains self-harm or excessive violence
- Fake or impostor profiles
That’s a pretty short list, by design. So we went to the full explanation of what sorts of things violate Facebook’s community standards. And here it is. Note that each link goes to a full explanation of what Facebook means.
- Violence and Criminal Behavior
- Threats to Safety (physical, emotional, and privacy)
- Objectionable Content Note that this includes “adult nudity and sexual activity” (more on that below).
- Integrity and Authenticity No, this is not a disallowed behavior, although the wording of this heading is ironic given that all of the other headings are things that are prohibited. This section includes spam, misrepresentation, memorialization, and, of course, fake news.
- Intellectual Property
- Content-Related Requests
So, about that Adult Nudity and Sexual Activity Facebook community standards section, here’s what it says:
We restrict the display of nudity or sexual activity because some people in our community may be sensitive to this type of content. Additionally, we default to removing sexual imagery to prevent the sharing of non-consensual or underage content. Restrictions on the display of sexual activity also apply to digitally created content unless it is posted for educational, humorous, or satirical purposes.
Our nudity policies have become more nuanced over time. We understand that nudity can be shared for a variety of reasons, including as a form of protest, to raise awareness about a cause, or for educational or medical reasons. Where such intent is clear, we make allowances for the content. For example, while we restrict some images of female breasts that include the nipple, we allow other images, including those depicting acts of protest, women actively engaged in breast-feeding, and photos of post-mastectomy scarring. We also allow photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depicts nude figures.
The page goes on to say:
“Do not post:
- Images of
- Real nude adults, where nudity is defined as
- Visible genitalia
- Visible anus and/or fully nude close-ups of buttocks unless photoshopped on a public figure
- Uncovered female nipples except in the context of breastfeeding, birth giving and after-birth moments, health (for example, post-mastectomy, breast cancer awareness, or gender confirmation surgery), or an act of protest
- Sexual activity, including
- Sexual intercourse
- Explicit sexual intercourse, defined as mouth or genitals entering or in contact with another person’s genitals or anus, where at least one person’s genitals are nude
- Implied sexual intercourse, defined as mouth or genitals entering or in contact with another person’s genitals or anus, even when the contact is not directly visible, except in cases of a sexual health context, advertisements, and recognized fictional images or with indicators of fiction
- Implied stimulation of genitalia/anus, defined as stimulating genitalia/anus or inserting objects into genitalia/anus, even when the activity is not directly visible, except in cases of sexual health context, advertisements, and recognized fictional images or with indicators of fiction
- Other sexual activities including (but not limited to)
- Presence of by-products of sexual activity
- Stimulating genitals or anus, even if above or under clothing
- Use of sex toys, even if above or under clothing
- Stimulation of naked human nipples
- Squeezing naked female breast except in breastfeeding context
- Fetish content that involves
- Acts that are likely to lead to the death of a person or animal
- Feces, urine, spit, menstruation, or vomit
- Digital content that meets our definition of sexual activity unless any of the following conditions exist
- Content was posted in a satirical or humorous context
- Content was posted in an educational or scientific context
- Imagery is not sufficiently detailed and only body shapes or contours are visible
- Sexually explicit language, defined as description that goes beyond mere mention of
- A state of sexual arousal
- An act of sexual intercourse unless posted in an attempt at humor or satire, or if educational in nature”
So, what do you think? Did the page we reported violate those community standards?
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