Facebook slammed as 'udderly ridiculous' after art gallery's cow pic BANNED for being 'too sexy'
FACEBOOK was forced to apologise after computer moderators banned an art gallery's picture of cows after it was judged to be "too sexy".
The social media giant was slammed as udderly ridiculous after it stopped photographer Mike Hall from advertising his photographs.
Shots of wild cattle stood in a field were deemed "overtly sexual", while a snap of a rippling pond was considered to help "sell sex products".
Other banned photos included the England cricket team in a huddle, nesting birds and the side of an office building.
Mike, 50, who runs the Northwall Gallery in Winchester, Hants., advertises photographs on his Facebook page to sell as prints.
He said: "We had to give all the information to prove we are a legitimate business, and then set up a store to sell prints of photos.
"We started getting rejections for uploading the photos for a variety of ludicrous reasons, which we kept appealing against.
"I kept having to say 'this is not overtly sexual – it's two cows in a field,' and 'how is an abstract photo of a pond ripple selling sex products?'
"At first we thought it was a mistake, but in November a letter said they had banned me from advertising completely."
Finally after multiple appeals, the ban was reversed last week and Facebook apologised – two months after it was first imposed.
I kept having to say 'this is not overtly sexual – it's two cows in a field,' and 'how is an abstract photo of a pond ripple selling sex products?'
But some individual snaps are still being rejected by the site's computer moderator.
Dad-of-three Mike added: "It's not as though they were even remotely sexual.
"They even said a photo of some office buildings was overtly sexy, but it's not even phallic – it's just an office block.
"It's not like it's the Gherkin, or anything. It's obviously just an error in the algorithm.
"The response you get is so immediate after you upload the image. It's just one of those 'computer says no' sort of moments.
"One of the things I found particularly annoying was them saying their ridiculous decision to ban me was final – then a minute later asking me how they have done.
"I didn't even have the opportunity to speak to anyone, and I still don't know what policy I violated. It was ridiculous."
Before reversing the ban Facebook even sent Mike a letter, stating their decision was final.
They even said a photo of some office buildings was overtly sexy, but it's not even phallic – it's just an office block
The letter read: "Hi Mike. I've had another look at your ad account and unfortunately, we won't be able to re-enable it. "There's no further action that you make take here.
"Please consider this decision as final."
A statement on the Facebook's Advertising Policies page states that ads must not contain "adult content".
It reads: "This includes nudity, depictions of people in explicit or suggestive positions, or activities that are overly suggestive or sexually provocative."
Mike set up the Facebook page for his online business in October last year in the hope of drumming up sales.
But the inexplicable ban has ended up taking up huge amounts of his time.
Facebook uses a combination of artificial intelligence and human employees to monitor and police its adverts.
A spokesperson for Facebook said: "Mr Hall’s advertising account was restricted in error and has now been reinstated.
"We would like to apologise to Mr Hall for any inconvenience caused."
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