According to a new study conducted by Onlinecensorship.org, using false identities online or posting pictures that promote nudity can lead to content takedowns by social platforms. Onlinecensorship.org - a project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Visualizing Impact - is a proponent of free speech on social media. Launched in November last year, the website asked for submissions of the number of times people had had their content or accounts removed from Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, and Google+. Between November and March this year, the site received 161 submissions, mostly comprising content takedowns by Facebook.
One user, who had his account taken down, explained to the website how it was done:
"The user posted a piece of controversial content criticizing the movement for transgender rights. The same day, Facebook contacted him to request proof of identity. The user suspected that he had been reported by someone who disagreed with his politics. He did not comply with Facebookâ€™s request for identification, and after seven days, his account was suspended. He says it has remained in a state of review for several months. It should be noted that we received similar reports across the political spectrum."
And while Facebook allows nudity photos - especially pieces of art and breastfeeding - another user had had both these kinds of content taken down:
"[One] user, an award-winning photographer whose photographs have been exhibited in world-class museums, was banned several times, for 30 days each, for posting fine art nude photographs. Although the user appealed, the content was not restored. The user states: "I regard my fine art photographs to be every bit as much art as any representation of a drawing, painting or sculpture" and notes that in his jurisdiction, female toplessness is legal in public."
Also, the users who appealed to the companies to unflag their accounts or content, found the entire process extremely confusing and frustrating. While a few had their accounts restored, majority of them never even heard back from the companies.