Social media is more about controlling the media than being social.

I’ve been on Facebook with business “Pages” for my fine art work for some time now. And through that I’ve learned just how arbitrary and controlling Facebook has become. But honestly, it’s not just Facebook, it’s many other social media outlets, from Google to Yahoo, and on and on.

I started my fine art “Pages” about two years ago. These “pages” are about my artwork. They are even categorized as “artist” under the title. These should be venues where I can, like anyone else on social media, share updates, ideas, events and thoughts about my art.

Yet, at times I’ve received messages from Facebook that a particular post/photo does not comply with their guidelines. So I read the guidelines as they relate to the warning note I’d received. Unfortunately, the guidelines are so vague and ambiguous that it’s futile to try to determine what specific behavior creates a violation. Now, I am very careful not to show any image on my Facebook page that includes blatant nudity or anything about the body that might be considered erotic. And I always clearly include a warning note in my posts if a link takes the viewer to any nude images. The warning reads: “This photo shown has been cropped to be FB friendly. The link contains mature content. If you are easily offended please do not click the link. However, if you are more evolved than that, please do and enjoy.”

I also tried to promote my fine art erotica Pages on Facebook to get more “likes” and followers. But they often denied me. When I asked why I was denied, they sent me a screen-grab of one of the sub-pages of my website. Apparently Facebook doesn’t want anyone to view erotic or nude images, even if those people want to view them. Apparently Facebook feels they should be in charge of what people can, and cannot, see. Apparently they feel they’re qualified to make those determinations. A power even the Supreme Court doesn’t feel capable of exercising.

But ostensibly it’s okay for employees of the University of Cincinnati Medical Center to post photos and confidential medical records of patients being treated for an STD on the Facebook page “Team No Hoes”. It must not violate their guidelines to create a page to post confidential medical information that clearly violates state and federal laws, and opens a person up to public ridicule and shame. That must be okay with Facebook.

Amazingly, the 22 YouTube videos of threats of violence that Elliot Rogers posted were not a problem for that social media website either. Maybe the killing spree he ultimately embarked on near U. C. Santa Barbara wasn’t a problem for them. Nor was it an issue for Google to try to scan every book ever written and post them on their site for all to access, for free. Copyright be damned, apparently. But if you show a portion of the human body or use the word “erotic” you’re branded as a scourge to society. As if we need to protect people from something as offensive as the human figure and it’s use in art.

Ultimately it’s not that I object to these so-called “media” setting limits to the content they will allow. My objection is more about the contradictory, myopic and arbitrary nature of their constraints.