VisitFlanders has go at Facebook for censoring nudity in artworks


'Social Media Inspectors' invaded the Rubens House in Antwerp to protect sensitive visitors from what the platform considers explicit content

Step away from the art

Tourist agency VisitFlanders has had a playful dig at Facebook for censoring nudity in paintings by the Flemish Masters.

The social network’s censorship policy does not currently distinguish between pornography and artistic nudity – meaning several posts promoting museum exhibits in Belgium have been banned.

VisitFlanders released a satirical video at the weekend, which shows men in jackets reading “FBI, Social Media Inspector” asking visitors at the Rubens House in Antwerp to shield their eyes and move away from paintings depicting nudity. The men ask visitors whether they have social media accounts and tell them that, if so, they “must be protected from nudity”.

VisitFlanders has embarked on a major campaign to promote the Flemish Masters highlighting the life and heritage of Rubens, Bruegel and Van Eyck among others. It argues that artistic censorship on the social media platform makes discovering artists more difficult and does not allow for promotion of artwork.

In an open letter to Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, VisitFlanders chief executive Peter De Wilde said: “Unfortunately, promoting our unique cultural heritage is not possible today on the most popular social network.”