Report: Facebook Bans Led Zeppelin’s ‘Houses of the Holy’ Cover Art
Facebook has reportedly began banning Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy artwork from the social media network, even though the 1973 album cover has been shared freely by users on the site in years past.
Created by Hipgnosis designer Aubrey Powell, the photo collage that adorns Led Zeppelin's fifth album was originally captured among the basalt columns of Northern Ireland's Giant's Causeway. In the surreal image, a group of naked figures (who were portrayed by two child models) are positioned about a skewed, mountainous terrain. Alongside Led Zeppelin's rock 'n' roll peers, Hipgnosis' storied team of designers were involved in many other, equally colorful album covers for rockers such as Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath and AC/DC.
But, this year, Facebook user Michelle Kaotic was surprised to find an image of the Houses of the Holy cover she uploaded in 2011 had suddenly been removed, Classic Rock reported Wednesday (June 19). At the time, she supplied the image to a Facebook event page in honor of the Led Zeppelin album's anniversary.
"At first I was shocked, thinking this was a one-off thing," Kaotic described of the unforeseen censorship. But she soon learned that others had experienced the same difficulty, including a friend with a Jimmy Page fanpage who was locked out of their account after posting the artwork. In 2019, a Change.org petition was created to address the issue, indicating the matter was affecting other Zeppelin fans.
But when Kaotic shared the petition on Facebook, she ran into more barriers from the social media company. Within 30 minutes of posting the link, she said, it was flagged for violating Facebook's content guidelines.
"I received a notice that the post went against community standards," Kaotic explained. "I then created another post, mentioning how the petition was removed. Before too long, everyone was commenting, indicating that they had shared the petition and been given warnings. … The link to the petition was being removed by anyone sharing it. All because the thumbnail image was the album cover. I even had page members message me to indicate that they had been given 24 hour bans. Some even received three days."
The bans appear to highlight bigger issues regarding Facebook's censorship algorithms, especially since fanpages created by other Led Zeppelin devotees — like one listener Jadwiga Petrykiewicz launched in 2012 — have been deleted outright after repeated warnings related to the classic rock album cover.
"I started to receive notices from Facebook that posts relevant to the Houses of the Holy album were 'against community standards'," Petrykiewicz recalled. "This led to a point where I was blocked from posting, sharing or commenting. … I tried to resolve the issue with Facebook, but had no reply."
Facebook has censored controversial hard rock and metal album covers in the past. In 2011, Nirvana's Nevermind artwork was briefly banned by the social media site, The Guardian reported.
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