Why Facebook Is Deleting Your Photos

Facebook's content guidelines emphasise that inappropriate pictures uploaded by users will be deleted, but the guidelines for what will be removed aren't especially clear. Leaked documents used by Facebook moderators highlight obvious candidates for deletion (such as sexual activity) and also some you might not guess at (such as pictures of people that have been Photoshopped).

Gawker accessed a copy of Facebook's guidelines from a disgruntled former employee. Amongst the types of images that will be deleted if they are reported to Facebook moderators:

  • Any images which have been Photoshopped
  • Sex toys being used in sex acts (but not necessarily photographed as still lifes)
  • Nude breastfeeding
  • Pictures of drunk people
  • Pictures of sleeping people whose faces have been drawn on)
  • Self-harm and self-mutilation
  • Sexual activity
  • Anyone going to the toilet

The document is constantly updated, so policies are likely to change over time. But knowing the rules can save you needless angst (or at least time wasted uploading photos that might be removed).

Inside Facebook’s Outsourced Anti-Porn and Gore Brigade, Where ‘Camel Toes’ are More Offensive Than ‘Crushed Heads’ [Gawker]


    "Any images which have been Photoshopped" many of my female friend won't have any photos left lol

    pictures of drunk people? then what will we have to look at?

    where's that duck face bullet point

    Photoshopped? Cool, I'll just stick to humiliating people with photos altered in GIMP*

    *caution - may contain elements of untruth for purposes of highlighting irritating use of made up word.

    Isn't "Pictures of sleeping people whose faces have been drawn on" just a subset of Pictures of Drunk People?

      I used to work for an online content moderation company. A lot of these rules will be caused by specific incidents, and put in place by somebody high up the chain demanding it. Facebook's guidelines are about as clear as a moderator could hope for.

      One day our CEO saw a 'provatively posed' bbq photo, and we had a six month ban on any images with sausages in them. True story.

    Facebook is not your photo storage space. If they delete something because it's inappropriate, it's no big deal because facebook is not where you store your photos. Or at least it shouldn't be.

    These rules probably came about because people were threatening to sue or it's violating rights or it causes angst and humiliation.

    I can't post a map of Kurdistan???

      All those international compliance stuff is to do with turkey. Apparently they have enough turkish users buying stuff that they feel them more important than the free speech restrictions that are required to be imposed to avoid being blocked there.

        Gah, forgot the holocaust denial thing was repeated (seriously, how isn't that already covered by the previous hate speech rules?), that is to do with a number of European countries.

      This is why Windows no longer has a timezone map of the world in Control Panel. Some countries got upset by inferences that they didn't own certain pixels (or parts thereof).

    99% of my photos on Facebook are of drunken nights out with friends. Hope they have fun deleting them all LOL

    At the end of last year, I had an album of mine deleted, entitled "Photoshop Projects", which simply contained a few different wallpapers and assignments I had done for TAFE - I wonder if there's some reason within the guidelines why, or whether it was just an error?

    would people with face tattoos not be able to post images of themselves sleeping?

    You never know *which* rule you've broken, because Facebook doesn't and won't tell you. I'm sure there's a Godwin's analogue for "Kafkaesque" but ...

    They'll only delete photos which are reported, and said photos need to meet one of the criteria above.

      That, and when they start running out of space.

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