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Fontana Del Nettuno, Bologna, Italy. (Giovanni Dall'Orto/Wikimedia Commons)

Facebook censored a photo of an Italian statue of the god Neptune because he's nude

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Italian writer Elisa Barbari took a photo of the iconic statue in Bologna, Italy, of the Roman god Neptune. As with many statues of figures of Roman mythology, the god is portrayed nude. Barbari posted the photo to her Facebook page.

Then the photo was banned for violating Facebook's nudity policy, The Telegraph reports.

Barbari was stunned by the ban, saying the statue hasn't been covered since local graduation ceremonies in the 1950s.

How can a work of art, our very own statue of Neptune, be the object of censorship?
Elisa Barbari

Barbari received a message from Facebook saying the image broke the social media giant's advertising rules.

“It presents an image with content that is explicitly sexual and which shows to an excessive degree the body, concentrating unnecessarily on body parts," the statement read.

Let's look at the rulebook

Facebook's community standards specifically allows photos of nude art.

"We also allow photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depict nude figures," the standards read.

However, Facebook says its standards are "sometimes... more blunt that we would like and restrict content shared for legitimate purposes."

In protest, Barbari posted a photo with the caption, "Yes Neptune, no censorship."

Vietnam girl.jpg
FILE - This is a June 8, 1972 file photo of South Vietnamese forces follow after terrified children, including 9-year-old Kim Phuc, center, as they run down Route 1 near Trang Bang after an aerial napalm attack on suspected Viet Cong hiding places . Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg ?on Friday Sept. 9, 2016 challenged Facebook’s restrictions on nude photos by posting an iconic 1972 image of a naked girl running from an aerial napalm attack in Vietnam. The Pulitzer Prize-winning image by Associated Press photographer Nick Ut is at the center of a heated debate about freedom of speech in Norway after Facebook deleted it from a Norwegian author’s page last month. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)

Facebook has been criticized for censoring non-sexual nude photos. In September, it un-banned this famous photo of a Vietnamese girl running from a bombed village during the Vietnam War. 

Was Facebook right to ban the photo of the Neptune statue?

The Neptune statue, known as the Fontana del Nettuno (Fountain of Neptune), was created in the 1560s by Flemish sculptor Jean de Boulogne, The Telegraph reports.

Header photo by Giovanni Dall'Orto

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