Facebook was mocked by a bunch of museums for censoring the nudes of a master painter

Musea en Erfgoed Antwerpen/Wikimedia CommonsPeter Paul Rubens is one of the Flemish Masters.
  • Facebook has been ridiculed for censoring nude paintings by the Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens.
  • A group of Flemish museums penned a playful letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking to discuss the matter.
  • The Flemish tourist board also made a video poking fun at Facebook, showing social media agents preventing art gallery goers from looking at nude paintings.

For hundreds of years, Flemish master painter Peter Paul Rubens has been famous for his “fleshy” nude paintings. But now they have been censored on Facebook.

The Flemish tourist office has written a tongue-in-cheek open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, signed by most museums in the Belgian region of Flanders.

The letter claims that Facebook systematically rejects Rubens’ artworks, and asks whether the artist’s depictions of “breasts, buttocks and cherubs” are truly indecent in nature. The letter says that although they have to laugh about the censorship, it is making their lives difficult.

The signatories write that they would like to showcase the Flemish Masters and Flanders tourism on Facebook, as art-lovers use the platform. “Art connects, just like social media,” they wrote. The letter also posits that had Rubens had Facebook, he would have had a big fan page.

Facebook does not blanket ban artistic nudes on its platform, but adverts are not allowed to contain “adult content,” which includes nudity – even when artistic in nature.

To illustrate its point, the Flemish tourist board published a video featuring “social media police agents” who physically block gallery-goers with a Facebook account from viewing nude paintings.

The chief executive of the Flemish tourist office told the Guardian: “Unfortunately, promoting our unique cultural heritage on the world’s most popular social network is impossible right now.”

According to the Guardian, Facebook had accepted an offer from the Flemish tourist office to talk about the matter. Facebook declined to comment when contacted by Business Insider.

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