The Daily Beast was temporarily banned from Facebook after posting a news report containing a photograph of a painting due to come under auction at Christies in London.
The artwork, which sold on Friday for $1.9 million (US) was painted in 1991, and is entitled “Bea Arthur Naked”.
Brian Ries, social media editor for The Daily Beast, said the journal was banned from Facebook while the social network investigated the potential violation of its terms.
“I have posted countless potentially offensive stories on our Facebook page, from the sexual proclivities of porn stars to purported cannibalism in Syria. But not until we linked to a piece about the Golden Girl’s breasts did Facebook shut us down,” Ries said.
He said that Facebook advised the Daily Beast that its Facebook accounts “could be permanently disabled if you continue to post things that violate our terms.”
“But somewhere, somehow, a reader, an employee, or a robot working for Facebook thought he (or she) was looking at a pair of the real, Golden deal. And so we were flagged, our account sent into the bowels of a social reportage machine that takes the offending post from a review before a “Safety Team” to an evaluation of the site’s community standards to a warning and, ultimately, a temporary suspension,” he said.
“And yet our post wasn’t in violation of Facebook’s terms, since, as I said, they weren’t real breasts, but bona fide art.”
He said that Facebook later recanted and apologised for the misunderstanding.
“Our policy prohibits photos of actual nude people, not paintings or sculptures,” he reported he was told by Facebook personnel.
“Unfortunately, this image was erroneously removed under the same clause we use to prevent more graphic images from propagating on the site.
“As you might expect, occasionally, we make a mistake and block a piece of content we shouldn't have.”