According to this circulating post, it is no longer appropriate to display images of Australian defence badges on Facebook and the company is removing them from its network.
The message, which has been circulating in various incarnations for several months, is causing a good deal of ire and consternation as it travels. It features an image depicting an Australian Army hat badge. Many patriots, aghast at Facebook’s supposed insult to Australian soldiers, are sharing the original post or reposting the image with their own irate message attached, apparently in the hope of thwarting Facebook’s alleged ban.
But, in fact, the claims in the post are untrue. There is no Australian Defence Force badge ban on Facebook and the company is NOT removing images of such badges. The very fact that the image has spread so widely and for so long should be enough to indicate that the claims are untrue. If Facebook was really intent on banning the image, it certainly would not be so commonly shared and displayed on the network. Moreover, similar pictures showing Australian Defence Force badges, emblems, and logos have been published via countless other Facebook Pages and Profiles for years with nary a hint of removal. And, rather tellingly, the very same emblem is used as the profile picture on the official Australian Army Facebook Page.
For the record, the image used in the post is taken from a sales list for a badge collection published on a military antiques website.
Over the years, there have been many other versions of the same ‘Facebook is banning a picture’ protest messages, all of which have no factual basis. Another Australian-based message falsely claims that Facebook is banning pictures of the Australian flag. Alternative versions have made similar claims about the flags of various other nations. One long circulated hoax post claims that Facebook is removing images depicting veteran amputees because the images are considered offensive. Again, the claims are simply untrue. And, every year near Christmas, an old hoax message that claims that a particular nativity scene is being banned because it is offensive once again goes viral on the network.
So, where do these stories come from in the first place? Sadly, a great many – if not most – of them are created by callous individuals who are only interested in promoting their Facebook Pages or profiles. These people know that raising the ire of patriotic or religious users by claiming that a country’s flag, defence emblem, or other iconic political or religious symbol is being banned on Facebook is a surefire method of collecting very large numbers of likes and shares. Thus, many of the posts are nothing more than like-farming scams.
Possibly, in a small number of instances, the protest posts are derived from a simple misunderstanding. For example, if a particular picture is included with a post that contains material that really does violate Facebook’s community standards, then the company may remove the content. Some users may erroneously conclude that the content was removed because of the image rather than the nature of the text that accompanied it and thus create their own protest message decrying the perceived image ban.
So, if you receive one of these image ban messages, take the time to verify the claim before you pass it on. If the – supposedly banned – image has already been shared thousands of times over a lengthy period, then its a fair bet that the alleged ban is imaginary. If Facebook had chosen to stop the image from appearing on its network, then you most likely would not be seeing it on your timeline in the first place.