Circulating Facebook messages featuring a photograph of Hereford UK’s Poppy Man sculpture claim that the Facebook is removing the image and we should therefore ‘share the hell out of it’ to thwart Facebook’s supposed political agenda.
The claims are nonsense. Images of the sculpture appear in many different posts on Facebook and have been there for many months. Facebook is not taking down the images nor is there any reason why the company would do so. These bogus ‘Facebook removing a picture’ posts are usually just callous attempts to promote particular Facebook Pages or Profiles.
According to various circulating messages, a photograph depicting the Poppy Man sculpture is being ‘taken down’ by Facebook. The messages ask that you ‘share the hell out of it’ as a means of thwarting Facebook’s supposed goal of removing the Poppy Man picture.
The sculpture, which is located in Hereford UK, is described thusly in a post on Ipernity.com:
Mr Poppy Man was designed by Hereford in Bloom stalwart, Angela Pendleton, and created by George Thomas, a metal worker of Upper Hill with a grant from Hereford City Council.
The unusual sculpture is sat on one of the city council’s First World War benches, facing the newly-painted mural of the Herefordshire Regiment’s gallant attack at Sulva Bay in August 1915, at the start of the Gallipoli Campaign.
The implication in the circulating messages is that Facebook is removing the image because of a political agenda. Some have suggested that Facebook is removing the image because it might offend some people.
But, here’s the thing. Facebook is NOT removing the image. In fact, dozens if not hundreds of photographs of Mr Poppy Man have been featured in posts by many different people over many months, And, the pictures are still there. Facebook has NOT banned them, removed them, or taken them down. They are still well and truly there in a variety of different contexts.
In fact, this is just one in a long, sorry line of fake ‘Facebook is removing a picture’ protest messages. One Australian-based message falsely claims that Facebook is removing Australian Defence Badge pictures. Another claims that images depicting the Australian flag are being removed. Similar versions have made false ‘ban’ claims about the flags of various other countries. Another hoax post claims that Facebook is removing images depicting veteran amputees because the images are considered offensive. And, of course, every year around Christmas time, the old ‘Facebook is banning a nativity scene’ message resurfaces.
So, why, you might ask, would people claim that such pictures are being removed? Sadly, the main reason people create these fake protest posts is simply to promote their Facebook Page or Profiles to a larger audience. Because such posts generate a good deal of angst and consternation, they tend to go viral on the network as more and more users like, share, and comment on them. Thus, users who launch one of these bogus ‘image ban’ messages can receive a massive amount of free publicity for their profiles or Facebook Pages.
Perhaps in a few cases, the protest posts are derived from a simple misunderstanding. If a particular picture is included with a post that contains material that actually 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. And, perhaps if a posted image has violated another user’s copyright, a picture might be removed.
It is thus important to verify any ‘Facebook is banning this image’ claims before you share, like, or comment on them. If the – supposedly removed – image has already been shared a great many times over a lengthy period, then you can assume 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.
Last updated: April 22, 2016
First published: April 22, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
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