FB in French court for 'censoring' 19th century vagina painting
Paris: How should Facebook decide what's art and what's pornography? The question comes to a head in a French court case on Thursday with the social network accused of censoring a 19th-century painting of a woman's genitals.
"L'Origine du Monde" (The Origin of the World), an 1866 oil painting by the realist painter Gustave Courbet, may hang on the walls of the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.
But its status as a cherished work of art did not stop Facebook shutting down the account of a French teacher who shared a picture of it, because of the social network's ban on nude images.The teacher, Frederic Durand, accuses Facebook of deactivating his account "without warning or justification" in February 2011. He promptly sued the company in the name of freedom of expression, but the case is coming to court only on Thursday after a years-long legal wrangle over jurisdiction.
Durand made repeated attempts to have his account restored but Facebook is not thought to have done so -- despite rule changes in 2015 clarifying that depictions of nudity in artwork were acceptable.
Durand had posted a link to an article exploring the history of the painting which used the famous image as a thumbnail.
His lawyer Stephane Cottineau acknowledged that Facebook banned nude content at the time, but he argued that the painting is "a major work" which is "part of France's cultural heritage".
The close-up of the woman's crotch and abdomen is a depiction of nudity that has been "glorified, made sublime, through the talent of the artist,"