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NSFW: Facebook Gets Dragged To Court For Censoring A 19th-Century Nude Painting

By Izza Sofia, 06 Feb 2018


Image via Popova Valeriya / Shutterstock.com

Facebook’s policy of censoring nudes has landed the social media network in a difficult spot.

Gustave Courbet’s NSFW L’Origine du Monde features a close-up view of a woman’s abdomen with her legs spread to reveal her genitals. It was censored by the platform after an image of the painting was uploaded by French teacher Frédérick Durand-Baïssas. Facebook then suspended his account “without warning or justification.”

Now the teacher is suing Facebook, claiming that the social network site violated his free speech—and that French courts should have jurisdiction to hear his case.

Facebook lawyers have argued that under its terms of service, lawsuits like the one filed by Durand-Baïssas could only be heard by a specific court in California, where Facebook is headquartered. Paris courts, however, appealed that it should be handled in France itself and the trial finally made it to court on 1 February.

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The case is not just about reviving an account that was suspended seven years ago—though Facebook’s lawyers stated that it is not possible as the website only holds data from suspended accounts for 90 days.

The plaintiff is demanding approximately $22,550 in damages.

According to Durand’s lawyer Stéphane Cottineau, “Facebook isn’t above the laws of France. The company must also respect laws relating to freedom of expression, which make up the foundation of our rights.”

Although the account was suspended after Durand-Baïssas uploaded the image of the painting, Facebook denies deactivating the account, claiming the user “has not offered any proof of a link between the two events.” 


Image via Wikimedia Commons


[via Konbini, images via Popova Valeriya / Shutterstock.com, Wikimedia Commons]
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