Previously, Facebook decided it needed to protect its users eyes from photos of breastfeeding and gay men kissing. In both instances, the site eventually apologized and said it had made a mistake. So why did it recently remove an ad for a movie that shows women touching tongues? [Updated: Facebook responds and corrects the issue; see below.]
As AdWeek notes, the image from the Greek film Attenberg is slightly more "off-putting" than other shots of people kissing, but it isn't offensive. The distributor, TriArt, says it's "confused" because it's used images of straight couples in Facebook ad campaigns in the past. CEO Eva Esseen Arndorff says:
"Facebook is certainly a private company, but for many it stands for freedom of speech and expression. We're wonder what criteria are used when they decide not to approve the Attenberg picture."
The image is still up on the movie's profile, but Facebook said the company couldn't use it for the PR campaign. Jan Fredriksson, Facebook's head of public relations in Sweden, has already responded that this may be a mistake:
"If the picture has been removed because there are two women kissing each other, then a mistake has been made. But there may be other reasons as to why the image was removed ... It may have been put up in the wrong way."
It's possible TriArt just made a mistake, and it's milking the rejection for more publicity. But, the site does have a history of claiming there's been a misunderstanding after its discriminatory photo policies spark a backlash.
Update, 8:18am: The ad's removal was (another) mistake, says Andrew Noyes, a communications manager at Facebook:
Upon investigation, we concluded the advertisement does not violate our guidelines and was removed in error. The ad is now running and we apologize for the inconvenience.
Also to be clear, the photo of men kissing that you also mention did not violate our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and was removed in error.