The Save Ophelia page was Victoria’s last resort after trying to contact the faceless Facebook administrators.
“Like Big Brother they are inaccessible and omnipotent,” says Victoria Buckley through a statement distributed by AAP Medianet.
“They are completely opaque. I can’t know whether the problem was me calling Facebook ‘philistines’ on my page, others’ comments disparaging Facebook for their actions, or my linking to outside media that had used the original images I had on my site.”
You may wonder what got Victoria, the owner of the elite Victoria Buckeley Jewellery Company, so worked up?
Well, it all started with the nipples of an enchanted doll making headlines the world over.
Images of uncovered doll nipples (yes, doll nipples) posted on Victoria’s Buckley Jewellery Facebook page, to promote her Sydney store, rubbed some people the wrong way.
The page, with over 2,000 fans, attracted the ire of Facebook and a threat to close down the page if the photos were not removed. Victoria was then forced to delete the photos and post them on a separate Facebook fanpage appropriately named, “Save Ophelia – exquisite doll censored by Facebook.”
The alternative page was a special dedication to Facebookers who wanted to discuss art and what constitutes nudity, and quickly garnered at least 500 new members. The defiant act prompted administrators of Facebook to delete the photos and, ultimately, close down this second group.
Choosing not to risk her company page and her precious relationship with her fans, Victoria then made the difficult decision to remove links to all of the international media coverage attracted to the story, together with dozens of insightful and encouraging comments from supporters.
Fortunately for Victoria (and unfortunately for the considerate commentators), it seems that this final act of caution was premature.
On 12 July 2010, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Facebook had admitted it made a “mistake” in removing the photos. Facebook said in a statement:
“We’ve investigated this further and determined that we made a mistake in removing these photos. Our User Operations team reviews thousands of reported photos a day and may occasionally remove something that doesn’t actually violate our policies. This is what happened here.”
For Victoria, the saga has ended in a reversal of the policy, following a swag of positive, international media coverage.
While it’s often said that all publicity is good publicity (unless you’re Facebook), not everyone has the media savvy to exploit a seemingly dumb case of corporate bureaucracy.
Has anyone else suffered at the hands of such mindless community censorship? If so, leave a comment below.