Social Media Censorship: Why Posting Naked Pictures of You Kids for Grandma Online is a Bad Idea
As someone who has had some experience with Social Media Censorship on Facebook, I can tell you, those pimple-faced billionaires don't mess around when it comes to protecting your child's online image. In their mind, if you're not going to do it they will be the knights in shining armour who will. And I guess you can't blame them. For one, they are trying to protect children from online sexual predators. And two, they are forcing you to follow the letter of the law (as they interpret it, at least).
Let's be frank (yes, I know that's not your name, it's not mine either), common sense often goes out the window when people are posting pictures of themselves, their friends, or their family on Facebook, or Google+, or Twitter, or Pinterest or Instagram. Adults post pictures of themselves playing hooky from work and are surprised when they get fired. People are dumb. I know I am. I got banned from Facebook for posting a picture of a small Asian boy with a split in his pants showing his ass crack. Sure, this was from an actual clothing line in Japan that allowed children and adults to take a crap faster, but it went against Facebook's child protection rules. I also got banned for posting a picture men's underwear. Apparently, I'm told, if you enlarged (no pun intended) the image, you could see through the undergarment and clearly see the outline of the model's circumcised "sausage." This went against some other rules Facebook had, but so far I've tried to rule out homophobia and a distinct dislike for life drawing. The one picture I didn't get banned for was blocked (or skewed from view) so you just assumed a mom was giving her boyfriend a blowjob while giving her toddler a bottle with her other hand. It later turned out that she was sucking cake off her other kid's hand (there was no boyfriend), but it was enough to get people in a frenzy and reporting it to the powers that be based solely on what they assumed they saw. But even Facebook can't remove a picture based solely on what people think they see. You have to see it for it to be banned. Well, kind of...
So, today my wife posts this gem on Instagram (owned by Facebook?), against my better judgement. To her it was a sweet picture of her baby boy, from the side, with no view of either his butt crack or his willy. In her mind, it was just a cute picture of our son in his birthday suit, on the water, with nothing showing except his beautiful smile. And she was shocked when they quickly and summarily removed it (but thankfully, not her). Umm, hello, I've been banned three times. I know a little bit about this.
"The Internet was built on the backs of naked women showing skin to make a living - there is nothing innocent about the Internet!"
Even if I wasn't the child in question's father and dead set against having his naked image posted on the Internet for all see, mostly because of my own modesty, but more importantly to protect his one day, I would still know not to post this picture on Facebook, or Instagram or Tumblr without modification. Simply put, you can't post naked pictures of kids online, even if it’s just going to your mom and your mother-in-law because, well, you just can't post pictures online of naked children. Not in the bath, not on the beach, not sumo wrestling in your basement - you just don't do it!
I get it. To her it's innocent. You can't see anything. You can't even see a shadow of anything. It was a great shot and she wanted to show her friends. Well, apparently, Instagram is NOT her friend. Nor are the many registered sex offenders in North America and beyond. Nor are the many people who saw that her friends liked the picture, and took a peek, and demanded it be taken down. To be frank (again, not my name), the Internet was built on the backs of naked women showing skin to make a living - there is nothing innocent about the Internet! So your favorite Social Media sites protect you from it. And, if you ask me, that's pretty darn nice of them. Even if they ban first (or remove it for you) and ask questions later.
From a guy who is close to having his Facebook page shut down the next time he gets banned for posting the wrong image, let me tell you - err on the side of caution. If you want to post pictures of your kids online, block out anything that could be construed as going against your child's best interests, even if the pictures are only meant for family and friends. Protect yourself, but more importantly, protect your kids. And not just today, tomorrow as well, because one day some bully may get a hold of your innocent little gem and post it for their entire high school to see, and to some kids, that may be worse than some pervert.
So, thank you Instagram. My wife learned a valuable lesson. She won't be posting anymore pictures of my kids on your site. She'll only be posting them on mine.