Facebook takes down advocacy video featuring drawings by sexually abused children

Screenshot from Bahay Tuluyan YouTube channel.

Once again, Facebook’s censors missed their mark.

Yesterday, non-governmental organization (NGO) Bahay Tuluyan said in a Facebook post that a video they recently posted was taken down for violating the platform’s community standards.

The content of the video in question? Real-life drawings by sexually abused children.

The video, made in partnership with advertising agency TBWA Manila, was meant to spread awareness about the thousands of Filipino children who are victims of incest.

According to data from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), there are an average of 400-500 victims of incest every year. From 2011-2016, the DSWD served 2,770 incest victims.

Bahay Tuluyan’s video illustrates this problem through animated drawings by children provided by a sociologist.

While it was taken down from Facebook, it is still viewable from the NGO’s YouTube channel and on TBWA’s Vimeo.

Facebook’s decision to take down the video once again brings to light a problem with its community standards — that more than content, it must look into context as well.

In 2016, Facebook removed the iconic photo from the Vietnam War that features a naked girl running away from napalm bombs.

It also banned Tom Egeland, the Norwegian author who uploaded the photo, from posting on the platform for 24 hours. Many protested Facebook’s decision, pushing them to bring back the image.

Below, is Facebook’s current stance on content that features adult nudity and sexual activity:

“We restrict the display of nudity or sexual activity because some people in our community may be sensitive to this type of content.

“Additionally, we default to removing sexual imagery to prevent the sharing of non-consensual or underage content. Restrictions on the display of sexual activity also apply to digitally created content unless it is posted for educational, humorous or satirical purposes.

“Our Nudity Policies have become more nuanced over time. We understand that nudity can be shared for a variety of reasons, including as a form of protest, to raise awareness about a cause or for educational or medical reasons.

“Where such intent is clear, we make allowances for the content.”

While the drawings on Bahay Tuluyan’s video are quite graphic, the video was obviously created to spread awareness.

It calls on to viewers with the message: “You feel the disgust now. Abused children feel it forever” and ends with a call to donate to the NGO.

Paolo Broma, a regional account director from TBWA told Coconuts Manila that they have appealed for Facebook to reinstate the video but it is still not available on the platform as of this article’s posting.

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