The New Yorker Cartoon and 7 More Images Facebook Banned (PHOTOS)

See the misleading elbow boob and more images deemed inappropriate for your newsfeed.

Images Banned from Facebook

Elbow, or boob? It may seem like a straightforward enough question, but an intentionally misleading photo posted on Facebook by a web magazine proved that it’s not always an easy distinction to make. The social network removed a photo of a woman bathing, joining The New Yorker’s cartoon depiction of Adam and Eve, a classic Gustave Courbet, and more among those that were (arguably) unfairly removed from Facebook.

via Facebook

Theories of the Deep Understanding of Things

Exposing female breasts is a tried and true method of protest. But to decry what they consider Facebook’s increasingly arbitrary terms of service, audio visual web mag Theories of the Deep Understanding of Things took it one step further: the elboob. The website posted an intentionally misleading image of a woman bathing, in which her bent elbows could be misconstrued as breasts (albeit, unfathomably enormous breast). The photo was taken down by Facebook within 24 hours. “FB moderators can’t tell an elbow from a dangerous, filthy, uncanny and violent female breast,” the magazine wrote

Courtesy of Mick Stevens

The New Yorker

Two black dots is all it took to get The New Yorker temporarily booted from Facebook. The page devoted to the magazine’s cartoon department was temporarily disabled after it posted a cartoon of Adam and Eve reclined against a tree with the caption, “Well, it was original.” The inclusion of Eve’s nipples was apparently a violation of the social networking site’s Sex and Nudity guidelines. The New Yorker seemed flabbergasted that two tiny dots could shut down its entire cartoon page: “It’s like ‘Where’s Waldo?,’ but for nipples,” Robert Mankoff wrote on the magazine’s website. After word of “Nipplegate” spread, Facebook promptly reactivated the page. “Recently, Facebook mistakenly blocked a cartoon as part of our efforts to keep the site safe for all and quickly worked to rectify the mistake as soon as we were notified,” a spokesperson said.

Marty Melville, AFP / Getty Images

Larry Pickering

Australian cartoonist Larry Pickering, whose politically charged drawings have been published in several Aussie newspapers over the past few years, was temporarily banned from Facebook after posting a particularly lewd cartoon featuring Prime Minister Julia Gillard. The PM is depicted naked and wearing a strap-on dildo, commenting on carbon tax: “You’ll wake up on July 1st and nothing will have changed.” Pickering blamed his suspension from the site, which lasted three days, on “complaints again from the arrogant Left here on Facebook.”

Courtesy of Heather Cushman Dowdee

Best Breastfeeding Cartoons

Is Facebook waging a war against breasts? The frequency with which it bans illustrations and photos with even the most marginal bit of overexposure has led some bloggers to claim it is, and cartoonist Heather Cushman-Dowdee would almost certainly agree. In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, she had been sharing her Best Breastfeeding Cartoons on Facebook. But a little scribble of a nipple resulted in one of the cartoons being taken down, and Cushman-Dowdee was given a 24-hour ban from the social networking site. “I’m sure you’ll agree that the tiny little circle is pretty unoffensive [sic],”  Cushman-Dowdee wrote on her website after the ban.

Courtesy of Wendy Pini


It doesn’t matter if it’s not clear whether the offending illustration is a man or a woman—if Facebook thinks it’s a female and her nipples are exposed, it’s getting censored. That’s what happened to artist Wendy Pini, creator of the cult comic ElfQuest, after she posted a drawing of one her characters, Bunchh, on the social media site. Bunchh is supposed to be androgynous—described by one of Pini’s fans as “in transition” from male to female, which is not confirmed by Pini—but the site ordered that the photo be taken down anyway.

Courtesy of Mysh


It’s not just nipples and nudity that set off Facebook’s moral police. An Israeli graphic artist named Mysh was suspended from his country’s version of the site after posting three politically charged works on his page. Mysh’s work typically riffs off superheroes like the Hulk and Batman to make subversive statements on political issues, including Israel’s economic disparity, its surge in anti-African sentiment, and expansion into West Bank territories. It’s unclear what Facebook rules the images violated (though Hulk’s pants do sit alarmingly low on his waist…).

Shakil Adil / AP Photo

‘Everybody Draw Muhammad Day’

Never underestimate the power of South Park. What began as one controversial scene in the Comedy Central series quickly snowballed into Facebook being banned completely in Pakistan. Some forms of Islam strictly prohibit depictions of the image of the Prophet Muhammad. After a 2010 episode of South Park featured Muhammad obscured by a black box with the word “censored” on it, the show’s creators began receiving death threats. In solidarity, artist Molly Norris established “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” and started a Facebook page for the event. More than 7,000 pictures were submitted, while the poster advertising the event sparked street protests, boycotts, and a court order that banned Facebook in Pakistan. After two weeks of controversy, Facebook ordered the page be taken down.

Pascal Guyot, AFP /Getty Images

The Origin of the World

The daringly provocative 1866 painting “The Origin of the World” by French artist Gustave Courbet is a staple of any art history class. It’s exhibited in Paris’s Musée d’Orsay. And boy, does it make Facebook blush. The oil-on-canvas work features the lower abdomen of a woman lying on her bed with her vagina exposed and her legs spread open. Several Facebook users had their accounts deleted after posting the work on their pages, including Dutch artist Frode Steincke. For one Frenchmen, the banning was particularly tragic: his page was deactivated on the eve of his birthday, depriving him of more than 800 innocuous “Happy Birthday!” wall posts.