Restoring Led Zeppelin Images on Facebook Could Take a While [UPDATE]
Update, AP reported today Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy album can once again be seen on Facebook. They are saying they reinstated the cover because of its cultural significance.
Officials at the social-media giant say they will have to adjust their system to allow for this change, making the image available for sharing "in the coming days."
Part of the issue is the sheer number of photos being uploaded to the site. Five years ago, Facebook confirmed that users were already posting 350 million new images every day. That number has surely grown. Nude images like the Led Zeppelin cover can get caught up in a technological approach to moderating that Facebook claims detects more than 96 percent of banned posts.
But that's not the only way a photo gets removed. UCR posted the Houses of the Holy cover on Wednesday and received a take-down notice the next day. The same image had been used as featured art more than 30 times over the years without incident. But this time, according to the Facebook notice, the post was "flagged by other members of the community. As a result, the content will likely be removed in the next couple hours for policy reasons."
Others had already reported image removals, including Michelle Kaotic of the Led Zeppelin Ultimate Fan Page group on Facebook. A change.org petition was established in hopes of bringing the cover photo back. Kaotic told Classic Rock that friends began earning personal Facebook bans, some as long as three days, for sharing the petition.
Readers are now reporting that those personal bans are still in place, despite the decision to stop removing the Led Zeppelin image. Facebook officials have not yet responded to questions about how long the review process on those decisions might take.
The Houses of the Holy image ran afoul with Facebook censors, UCR has confirmed, because of the presence of under-age models. "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," Facebook earlier said. "We default to removing sexual images to prevent non-consensual or underage content from being shared."
Still, the Grammy-nominated photo collage by Hipgnosis' Aubrey Powell appeared to fall within the Facebook community-standards policy for artistic work. That guideline states that they allow users to upload "photographs of paintings, sculptures and other art that depicts nude figures."
Certainly, Houses of the Holy isn't the only rock album featuring naked models, and so likely won't be the last to get tangled up in Facebook regulations. How long before fans of Whitesnake (Lovehunter), Roxy Music (Country Life), Supertramp (Indelibly Stamped), the Cars (Candy-O), Roger Waters (The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking) or the supergroup Blind Faith (whose lone album also featured a nude youth) find themselves in a similar position?
Facebook officials tell UCR that they will continue to review policies, as they did with Led Zeppelin, to promote free expression – but they are also always working to keep the community safe. Other images will be evaluated on an individual basis, they added.
As with Houses of the Holy, it's clear that Facebook can be swayed if the image meets certain standards. In fact, the same thing briefly happened when Nirvana's Nevermind was banned and then reinstated back in 2011.
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