The facebook porn police stand at attention
Apparently, Newsweek is light on news this week. So, they’ve turned to one of the more easily SEO-d facets of the age-old what-sells-news adage (tits, tots, pets and vets for those of you who didn’t grow up with two journalists for parents).
Of course, I’m talking about tits. Specifically, the folks at facebook who get paid to decide whether your facebook photos are staying abreast of the site’s porn-free policies. Turns out there’s a whole team of folks at Facebook who get paid $50K a year to police user’s content for anything that violates the site’s TOS. That pic of your brother with the bong? Out. The one where your neighbor is wearing her hands as a bikini top? Fine, as long as it doesn’t show nipple. Underage drinking? Deleted faster than you can say ‘red cup.’
Of course, any site has the right to patrol its own content. And, facebook makes it clear that they would prefer their content to be of the R-rated-and-below variety. I can’t say I blame them. Like many social networkers, I too deleted my Myspace account because I got tired of being asked if I’d like my penis enlarged. But, you still have to wonder about some of the laws these porn police are enforcing.
They suspend the accounts of people who use aliases, and they have nudity rules that sound more like the kind of thing you’d find in the title tag on a Break.com video: Fully Exposed Butt Rule, the Crack Rule and the Nipple Rule. All of this in an attempt to maintain the site’s identity (and its advertising cache) as a place for “everyone.” Unless of course, ‘everyone’ includes people who like to smoke pot, drink before they turn 21 or pose semi-nude for the enjoyment of their facebook friends.
Now, far be it for me to tell Facebook what to do — especially since I too would rather not be bombarded by porn during my regular facebook routine. But, it seems to me that the site has lately been striving so hard to control its content and keep that whole walled-in-garden thing going (kicking apps out for being too spammy, upping the profile of its porn police), that it runs the risk of walling out some of its users. Especially those of us that think epic clouds of smoke actually make for some pretty cool looking photos.
I’m not sure if there is any easy answer to this whole issue. After all, anywhere you have user generated content, you have users who will post content that other users won’t like. But, if anyone can figure out a way to walk the line between maintaining the site’s integrity and maintaining its users’ liberty, its gotta be the people who came up with the distinctions between the Fully Exposed Butt rule and the Crack rule. Here’s hoping facebook can pull it off without forcing too many of its users to take off.