Thursday, August 11, 2011

Beating Facebook's Morality Police

When it comes to posting photos, many photographers, myself included, have routinely complained, lamented, become frustrated with, shook their fists and screamed loudly at Facebook's mysterious and inconsistent enforcement of their TOS (Terms of Service). Well, that's what I used to do. But no more! I mean, first off, why bother? No one at Facebook is listening anyway, right?

Apparently, all it takes is one, self-appointed, morality cop to flag a photo and Facebook removes it with an accompanying dire warning and, sometimes, removal of photo uploading privileges for varying lengths of time. They even sometimes threaten to ban your entire account! Permanently! They don't, BTW, tell you which photo they've deleted (it becomes a mystery if you have many photos uploaded to your FB page) and they don't tell you why they've deleted it, leastwise, not specifically why. They simply say the offending photo violated their TOS.

Facebook's TOS is fairly straightforward when it comes to photos. In a nutshell, it says no nudity or porn, no drug related pics, no pics that are hateful. I don't know about you but, for me, that seems simple and easy to understand.

Apparently, though, it's not as easy to understand as one might think. I've had many photos deleted (with accompanying threats and denial of uploading priviledges) which did not violate FB's stated TOS. They didn't feature nudity. They weren't porn, altho some of them might have been pics of porn stars. They weren't hateful. They did not feature a drug theme.

(Note: I did upload one photo, one time, that showed a pretty model with a bong in front of her. FB deleted it and I didn't complain as it did violate their TOS. See? I'm willing to admit guilt when I'm actually guilty.)

Finally, I decided to quit uploading photos to my Pretty Girl Shooter Facebook photography page. Course, I wasn't thrilled about doing that... I mean not doing that. I have over two-thousand-two-hundred "fans" of my FB photography page and, frankly, most of them are there to see photos I've snapped of hot chicks.

So, what could I do?

Then, it hit me. I'll simply create a a free, Google Blogger, blog page and post my photos there and then link to them on my FB photography page. The link even provides a thumbnail exactly the way it would if I had uploaded my photos directly to FB. You can choose, of course, not to show the thumbnails. In fact, that's what I first did when I started linking to my pics; mostly because the pics I was linking to often did include nudity.

(Another Note: I've learned to link to the enlarged photo on Blogger so, when people click on the link or the thumbnail, the only thing it links to is the full-size photo itself.)

After a while, however, I decided to throw caution to the wind and link with the thumbnail revealed. I did this a number of times, waiting for FB to slap me for it. They didn't. I kept posting and linking with the thumbnail showing but FB still didn't delete the links or threaten to remove my account or otherwise get on my case about it.

You see, for hyperlinks, there seems to be no "Flag" button for the morality cops and the church ladies to click. Since, IMO, no one at FB ever looked at my non-TOS-violating pics anyway (they simply and automatically deleted and threatened if someone flagged it) FB would be none the wiser if people couldn't flag my links to photos which, in reality, often do violate Facebook's stated TOS.

Since my photos don't violate Google Blogger's TOS, plus Google provides a "Content Warning" for my "R-rated" photo-posting blog (something FB could and should do) just like they do on this blog, from a content perspective there's no harm/no foul. If you object to the pictorial content on this page or my other blog page, finding it offensive or inappropriate or whatever, you can't say Google hasn't warned you. If you have "issues" with my photo content or my words, when you see the content warning simply choose not to proceed to my blogs. How freakin' easy is that?

If you're having problems with censorship on your FB page, I suggest you go to Google Blogger, create a free blog page to post your pics, post your photos there and link to them on your FB page and fuhgedabout the Morality Police and the church ladies on FB. Doing it that way has been working for me for a while now.

The pretty girl at the top is Jayme. The photo is fairly typical of the content parameters I post on my Blogger photo page and link to my Facebook photography page.


hanssonrickard said...

Will we see you on "google+" as well?

MarcWPhoto said...

You can do the same thing with any photohosting service. If you want GB, go for it, but I might suggest 500px.

jimmyd said...

@Hansonrickard: I have a Goggle+ account but i haven't really done much of anything with it beyond registering aand providing some profile info.

@Marc: Yeah. I'm hip. I shoulda mentioned in my blog post that you could do this with just about any hosting service... except maybe Photobucket and some others if you're gonna upload nudity. They don't like that stuff on their servers.

B Vaughn said...

Glad to see you found a way to beat them. First time I saw one of your posts with the nudity, I said "oh shit, they are going to nail his ass" then I saw there was no link and was amused that you had found a way to beat them! Love your work and your articles.

jimmyd said...

@BVaughn: Thing is, when they were fucking with me and deleting my pics and denying me uploading privileges and threatening my account, I wasn't breaking their stated TOS... no nudity at all. Then, when they pissed me off enough so I quit uploading altogether and I said fuck this and fuck them, I started thinking, "how can i get around this?"

The answer, of course, was so simple... that's probly why it didn't occur to me sooner. So, now almost all the stuff I post and link with a thumb includes nudity because my 'tude is still, 'fuck this, fuck them.' Course, it won't surprise me if suddenly they become aware of it and I'm in hot water again. If so, well, Google+ here i come!!! :-)

Nadja said...

The f...... Google+... With their war tactics to get new users. Like they almost force the Picasa users to get it. And so on and so on...
Good luck if you should go there!
Any photo that you upload to the + will be on Picasa.
(The name might change.) And they have a 'report abuse' link on every page.
So it will be the same lottery as on the Facebook.
One idiot is enough.
And! They even have overly active users, who are also in the Picasa help- forums, and who have, 'friends at Google' who will come and give you a so called 'friendly warning'. Before any real morality knight can do his evil work! The friendly warning could go like this. (Copy and paste, so literal):
"Nadja... remove the nude pics... it's against the PicasaWeb Terms of Service (and you agreed to them when you signed up). If someone clicks on that "Report Abuse" link the photos will be deleted and your account will be locked."
Only after a lot of mails back and forth, and after I removed the photos, he said they will only remove photos or albums after a complaint. And only block accounts of second time offenders.
But here I was, warned! I couldn't pretend to be unaware...
I placed nudes again after that. Only I try to avoid to be too confronting. Like no pussy in the shade. Or... hardly any... haha. if they remove my album or block my account, all the photos on my blog will dissapear too. because I uploaded them directly from Picasa. ... And this is the main reason I am still on Picasa.
If the morality knights hit me, I will keep to blog only. Start all over again.

Anonymous said...

You know, you can have your dog's account permanently disabled without warning on FB. But the FAN GROUP for your dog can not only thrive, but can comment on other groups.