GTBTB Participates In #wethenipple Art Action To Protest Facebook Censorship
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release 6/1/19:
Grab Them By The Ballot Is Working With The National Coalition Against Censorship To Challenge Social Media Censorship
“Let’s not forget - this is an international issue and Facebook now dictates how the world views the female body as they brand it with shame masked as paternalism.”
New York, New York – June 2nd, 2019: Organizers of Grab Them By The Ballot are incensed by Facebook’s censorship of their artistic female nudity used as a form of protest and empowerment. The grassroots non-profit interviewed with CNN yesterday regarding its involvement with the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) and world-famous nude photographer Spencer Tunick (see Esquire and Artsy coverage) in an upcoming nude Art Action.
The Art Action, #wethenipple, is challenging the censorship of artistic female nudity by Facebook and Instagram’s “community standards.” The photo shoot will take place in NYC where over 100 people will gather to pose nude. NCAC continues to post nudity and share stories of those who have faced censorship on social media, see GTBTB’s video post here.
“We are here to empower women around body positivity and encourage female voter turnout in 2020. This isn’t just about shock value and protesting - it’s about reclaiming our bodies. Facebook and Instagram have missed this message entirely as they cling to negligent and blatantly misogynist policies that overlook the context of the artistic nudity being posted. And I am fed up with it.” states Dawn Robertson, Harvard Law graduate and Founder of Grab Them By The Ballot, a grassroots non-profit that went viral during the mid-terms.
“We use art to promote women’s rights and rely solely on social media as a public forum to share our art and activism. We may have to end the campaign if the censorship continues. We are a relatively new grassroots campaign and these platforms provide access to audiences we don’t have the political power or economic means to reach. These burdensome policies render this value moot in the face of such censorship. This denies users and artists, activists and sex healers, educators and entrepreneurs.” states Robertson. She adds “women find our nude images of different colors and shapes inspiring. Censorship denies marginalized women, with little access to art activism, an opportunity to connect with nude photos in their image.”
Robertson adds “They have all but stopped our fundraising efforts to announce our gofundme campaign and t-shirt and underwear campaign around the abortion bans. We were banned on the very day of the Alabama abortion ban and couldn’t promote our content related to the subject. They denied concerned users valuable content because of an empowering image of a female nude body.”
The campaign faces two issues: One, Facebook permanently disabled their ad account after posting a tasteful nude painting (below) with a celebratory poem for Mother’s Day. Secondly, Facebook has banned Robertson on countless occasions placing her in “Facebook jail.”
Then, Facebook apologizes and admits they were “wrong” after she appeals notifying them that nudity and female nipples are allowed as a form of protest by their very own community standards (See below). They continue to ban her and each ban places her in more jeopardy of being banned again and for longer periods.
“How are we to know what to post? It feels like a game of Russian roulette when we post on social media now. Nudity is allowed as an exception yet they don’t honor this consistently” states Robertson. “Both Facebook and Instagram provide no warning and the appeals process is automated and vague with no human interaction” she adds.
Robertson and the campaign decided to be vocal about the censorship. Robertson changed her profile photo to a nude image of herself marked with “censored” (see below). Robertson says “the naked truth is being exposed. The misogyny is leaking and outdated. We will not be stopped by an archaic patriarchal system. We will not continue to be censored.”
She recently posted nude images (both with nipples) of a female and male supporter clearly stating “we are protesting” to test the system - the former being deleted despite being clearly allowed and in adherence to their policy. The male photo remained. (See male image below)
Robertson was just released yesterday from Facebook’s ban on commenting and liking posts. She believes it was in retaliation for speaking up against censorship as no new nudity had been posted. A Facebook rep admitted he too didn’t know why but did concede there is a blacklist. (See below)
“There’s no explanation or real human contact. Facebook simply sends you a copy of the advertising guidelines and an automated message that they want to keep the platform “safe” and “positive” for their users.” says Robertson. One FB rep especially noted this to Robertson and she asks “since when is a nude female body unsafe?”
Robertson adds “Art is inherently a subjective medium that provokes thought and a viewer’s perspective reflects their unique experience. It’s impossible to make everyone feel “safe” and we’re compromising the value of the medium by censuring it in such a draconian way. Where you draw the line is personal and our photos are inspiring. They don’t come close to that line nor reflect abuse or suggest a connection to a sex-trafficking ring.”
“There’s no explanation or real human contact. Facebook simply sends you a copy of the advertising guidelines and an automated message that they want to keep the platform “safe” and “positive” for their users. One FB rep specially noted this to Robertson and she asks “since when is a nude female body unsafe?”
How are a fake video of Nancy Pelosi, Russian bots and even Alex Jones (until very recently) allowed? “When did a nude female body automatically become sexual and not “positive”? Robertson adds “it’s absurd and this draconian censorship affects artists, activists, sex entrepreneurs, healers, and educators all fighting the very misogyny that Facebook spews. They refuse to spend money on the consistent execution of their policies run by machines and 28-year-olds.
“Facebook’s policies are downright misogynistic. Men can always show their nipples and “sexually suggestive” photos. This is a human rights issue” Robertson states. “Women and women’s bodies are violated on social media thousands of times a day” she adds. Facebook sent the image below marked “Adult Content” to explain its ad policies - notice there are no men depicted and Robertson states “this is a shining example of the blatant sexism in their policies.”
More images, correspondence with Facebook and interviews available upon request.