Facebook has reversed its decision that a Charles Blackman painting was too rude

Charles Blackman’s Women Lovers, (circa 1980). Courtesy of Mossgreen

Facebook had a change of heart after initially banning a Charles Blackman’s oil painting, “Women Lovers” (pictured above) from ads appearing on the social media site.

Within hours of the matter being raised with Facebook by Business Insider, the company said it had reviewed the advertisement using the image and approved it.

A spokesperson said initial advice given to auction house Mossgreen that the ad violated Facebook’s adult content and products policy was incorrect after it was originally reviewed against the company’s “adult content” ad policy.

Facebook’s policies on advertising are generally stricter than its censoring of general content on the site, although 12 months ago, the social media site banned a 50-year-old pop art painting of a woman licking an ice cream, posted by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, for being “too suggestive”.

Facebook said it is always seeking to improve its policies and hopes to allow more content like the Blackman painting in ads in the future.

The work is expected to fetch up to $55,000 when it goes up for auction next week.

Mossgreen, which is selling the Blackman among 250 works from The Lowenstein Collection of Modern & Contemporary Australian Art, is using the painting as the image to advertise the March 7 auction, but Facebook had deemed it too rude to advertise to its users.

Mossgreen CEO Paul Sumner challenged the ruling arguing it was “a culturally significant work”, and late on Thursday, Facebook told Business Insider the ad would be allowed.

Sumner said the decision was common sense.

“We are pleased that Facebook have reconsidered following a huge amount of media coverage around the world in the last 24 hours,” he said.

“This is a beautiful painting by one of Australia’s modern masters. To censor the use of it was, in our opinion, ridiculous, especially as the target audience was those interested in art.”

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