By Penny Timms.
Facebook has suspended the profiles of people who shared an article about Aboriginal feminism, because it contains a photograph of two Indigenous women in traditional attire.
Facebook does not allow bare breasts in posts.
Celeste Liddle, a feminist and freelance author, gave the keynote speech at the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre’s annual International Women’s Day address, and a version of her speech was published by online publication New Matilda.
“The main focus for the entire thing was the intersection between feminism and Indigenous rights,” she said.
When New Matilda published the speech, the outlet included a photograph of two women who were participating in a ceremony wearing traditional body paint and with bare chests.
Ms Liddle’s speech had mentioned a previous incident in which Facebook had suspended her for sharing an image of Aboriginal women dancing, who also had bare chests.
“New Matilda wanted to publish it because it was Indigenous feminism, and why they chose that image to accompany that photo was within the speech itself I spoke about last year how my page had been set upon by trolls and then threatened by Facebook because I’d posted up the preview video for the 8MMM comedy series,” Ms Liddle said.
“And Facebook removed the content because it has images of desert women painted up in traditional paint, doing traditional dancing.
“So the image accompanied that main point that I made, within the context of the speech.”
After New Matilda published the piece, Facebook suspended Ms Liddle’s account. It also suspended the accounts of users who had shared the article.
“They suspended it for reasons of nudity, so that’s the reason that they’ve given — nudity and sexually explicit nature,” Ms Liddle said.
“So they’ve deemed this picture of Aboriginal women painted up culturally to be nudity and sexually explicit, which it obviously isn’t, it’s women practicing several millennia worth of culture.”
Ms Liddle has attempted to contact Facebook about the issue, with no luck.
She said the company lacked understanding about Aboriginal culture.
Luke Pearson, the founding director of the social media project IndigenousX, said the situation was a shame.
“Unfortunately not much in this shocks me anymore, but clearly ‘disappointed’ I think would be the best response here,” he said.
“It’s a perfectly appropriate photo in context of an article that’s been written.