The platform has found itself in the past weeks waging cultural battles with several French users over the use of nudity in old works of art leading to a new international legal president being set against the U.S.-based social network.
On Sunday, Facebook apologized for blocking an advert by a play director because it featured an image of Eugene Delacroix’s famous work, “Liberty Leading the People.” The 1830 oil-on-canvas masterpiece that features a bare-breasted Marianne—the national symbol of the French Republic’s and their personification of the Goddess of Liberty—waving the French tricolour. According to Agence France-Presse, Facebook hastily sought to undo their censorship. “The work ‘Liberty Leading the People’ rightly has its place on Facebook,” their company’s spokesperson for France wrote. “We have immediately informed the user that his sponsored publicity is henceforth approved.”
The apology comes after a decision last week last week by a Parisian civil court that ruled in another Facebook user’s favor after the social media giant deleted an account for posting a picture of Gustave Courbet’s “L’Origine du Monde.” The court stated that the site didn’t give the user a reasonable period of notice before deactivation or specifying the reasons. In a legal first, the decision was based on French consumer law, setting a legal president that would leave the platform open to legal challenges in countries where a specific user is based, as opposed to U.S. law, where Facebook is based. The company initially argued French consumer law didn’t apply because the service it provides to its users is free.“The [decision] was important for me because in French culture, rooted in the Greco-Roman culture, we have lots of nude art,” said the user after their legal victory.
Of course, Facebook is staring at even bigger disruptions coming their way. The company is facing extreme scrutiny after political data company Cambridge Analytica was revealed to have been illegally collecting Facebook users’ data to be deployed in psychological profiling and micro-political targeting in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.