photo taken on Thursday, July 26, 2018, a visitor looks at the restored
Peter Paul Rubens self-portrait from 1628 in the Rubenshouse in Antwerp,
Belgium. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
Brussels (AP) -
For four centuries, the opulent, exuberant nudes of Peter Paul Rubens
have been known to shock and delight in sometimes equal measure. And now
somehow, even in 2018, his Baroque paintings are still jolting the
Belgian museums are
uniting in protest against Facebook since they cannot promote Flemish
Masters including Rubens at will for falling foul of the social media
site’s adult content rules and automatic censorship.
“The bare breasts
and buttocks painted by our artist are considered by you to be
inappropriate. We have noticed that Facebook consistently rejects works
of art by our beloved Peter Paul Rubens,” over a dozen top Belgian art
officials wrote to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
The Visit Flanders
tourist board even produced a mock news video where security officials
prevent visitors from seeing nudity in the Rubens House museum, one even
spreading his arms in front of the Adam & Eve painting, where the
biblical figures are covered only by the proverbial fig leaf. Instead
they divert them to other paintings where everyone is properly dressed.
Point made, they
“Twenty percent of
the (Facebook) posts that we dedicated to the Flemish Masters couldn’t
be shown to our audience, our cultural audience worldwide,” said
spokeswoman Tama d’Haen of Visit Flanders.
embarrassing for Visit Flanders that we cannot show one of our main
assets to the world. That’s why we came up with the idea of a video,”
Facebook says it
understands the issues at hand. Even if it allows for paintings like
those from Rubens to be posted, it has more restrictive rules when it
comes to advertising which “must not contain adult content. This
includes nudity, depictions of people in explicit or suggestive
positions, or activities that are overly suggestive or sexually
The rules go on to
say that it includes “nudity or implied nudity, even if artistic or
educational in nature.”
And that is where
Rubens and other masters get caught in the act.
D’Haen said that
they want Facebook to “make a difference between nudity in general,
pornographic nudity, which is of course not allowed on their platform,
and the nudity which is part of many paintings hanging in Flanders and
worldwide.” D’Haen said they never get complaints from museum goers that
they feel shocked when coming face-to-face with the nudity.
She said both sides
have already agreed to a meeting to discuss it more in detail. Facebook
wrote in a statement to the Associated Press on that “as part of a
longer running and continuous review process, we want to make sure that
museums and other institutions are able to share some of their most
“We are thus
currently reviewing our approach to nudity in paintings in ads on
Facebook,” the statement said.
wouldn’t be unfamiliar to Rubens. After all, the Roman Catholic church
in his time already asked him to paint loincloths over body parts of his
Venus figures, although he preferred the natural concourse of muscle,
skin, and fat.
It was always thus,
said Paolo Grossi, Director and Area Coordinator of the Italian Cultural
Institute in Brussels.
“Everyone knows the
story of Il Braghettone, the famous Daniele da Volterra who was asked to
paint loincloths over Michelangelo’s nudes in the Last Judgment,” in the
papal Sistine Chapel at the Vatican, Grossi said.
If that was
prompted by moral concerns, Grossi wondered if Facebook was now driven
“by the need to deliver a politically correct message ... and comply
with Facebook’s ad and business model to avoid any ripples.”
Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
New York (AP) -
Facebook said last week that it has suspended Boston-based analytics
firm Crimson Hexagon while it investigates how it collects and shares
Facebook and Instagram’s user data.
Facebook has been
facing increased scrutiny over how third-party firms use its data since
news broke in March that data firm Cambridge Analytica improperly
accessed user data.
The Wall Street
Journal first reported that Facebook had suspended Crimson Hexagon.
The newspaper says among the firm’s clients is a Russian nonprofit with
ties to the Kremlin.
“We don’t allow
developers to build surveillance tools using information from Facebook
or Instagram,” said Ime Archibong, Facebook’s vice president of product
partnerships. “We take these allegations seriously, and we have
suspended these apps while we investigate.”
Friday that Crimson Hexagon is cooperating and that so far its
investigation hasn’t found evidence that the firm obtained Facebook or
Instagram information inappropriately.
says on its website it has access to over one trillion consumer
conversations from social media, forums, blogs and reviews.
In a blog posting,
Crimson Hexagon Chief Technology Officer Chris Bingham said the company
“abides completely” by the rules social media sites including Twitter
and Facebook put in place to limit the ways third-party companies can
use their data.
He said the firm
only collects publicly available social media data. He contrasted that
with Cambridge Analytica’s use of private user data.
Users of Crimson
Hexagon’s platform, which include government customers, analyze the data
to understand large-scale consumer trends and preferences, Bingham
entities that leverage the Crimson Hexagon platform do so for the same
reasons as many of our other non-government customers: a broad-based and
aggregate understanding of the public’s perception, preferences and
sentiment about matters of concern to them,” he wrote.