Maybe Facebook Would Let Photographer Spencer Tunick Post Naked Pics If He Worked for Sports Illustrated

Photo by Spencer Tunick
"Dead Sea 3," 2011
Last month, we told you about photographer Spencer Tunick's ongoing struggles with Facebook : Tunick takes non-sexual, not particularly explicit photos of nude people, typically large groups of them. Then Facebook takes some of those photos down, freezes his account, and occasionally threatens him with the deletion of his page . It's a vicious cycle, and not fun for anybody, particularly Spencer Tunick.

A spokesperson from Facebook told us at the time that with few exceptions, the company doesn't just pull photos down of their own volition. (Those exceptions, he said, involved extreme and graphic images involving things like child pornography.) First, someone has to flag the photo as objectionable; if a content monitor employed by Facebook agrees, the photo comes down. And Chris Park, a representative from the company, told Tunick that if he had any questions about whether a specific photo might violate Facebook's nudity guidelines, he could email said photo to Park, and he'd let him know where it stood.

Tunick was slightly uncomfortable with that plan, telling us he was ambivalent about the idea that "someone in an office in the middle of wherever - Nebraska, San Francisco - that one person decides what's OK or not when it comes to the body in art." But he was game to give it a try. On Valentine's Day, Tunick sent over six photos, which Park told him he'd forwarded to the company's "policy folks." Four days later, Tunick got his answer.

More »

Photographer Spencer Tunick Can't Stop Running Afoul of Facebook's Baffling Rules on Naked People

Photo by Spencer Tunick; image courtesy of the artist.
New York-based photographer Spencer Tunick takes beautiful pictures of naked people. You've probably seen some of those photos; he's become internationally famous over the past two decades for staging photos of "nude figures in public settings," as he puts it, everything from a lone woman curled around the cab of a truck to thousands of people splayed across Mexico City's Zocalo.

Tunick's work, though it isn't remotely sexual or pornographic, has still incited controversy; he even made it all the way to the Supreme Court, after he was arrested five times between 1995 and 2005 while staging his public nude shots. He was usually charged with "unlawful assembly." At least once, his camera was confiscated. Eventually, Tunick sued New York City and the NYPD, arguing that the constant arresting was an infringement on his First Amendment rights. He won.

But now Tunick faces a different and more implacable foe: Facebook. He can't share an uncensored photo of his work without it immediately being taken down. And as he recently discovered, even a pixelated photo is apparently not OK, unless the pixels are so enormous they take up most of the photo. Smaller pixels resulted in Facebook freezing his account and threatening him with deletion. Instagram is also not fond of nudes. So what's an artist whose subject is the naked body to do?

More »

The New York Post Is Freaking Out About This "Vicious" High School Confessions Facebook Page [Updated]

One of the many terrifying memes being circulated on Forest Hills HS Confessions
It's really hard to figure out the moral universe in which the New York Post resides. Homeless children living in dangerous, vermin-ridden, sexual assault-plagued shelters? No big deal. Woman reports being raped? Meh, she probably made that up. But halt the presses, call out the National Guard, break out the desk liquor and huff into your paper bags, everybody, because some high school students have a Facebook page.

That's the gist of this masterful piece of reporting, which apparently took no less than three of the Post's crack team. Titled, "'Mean Girls' meets 'Gossip Girl' in vicious school Facebook page," it's about, as the authors put it, "the students' dark secret," a page in which two anonymous moderators put up confessions sent in by the students of Forest Hills High School in Queens.

And it's bad. Real bad. Some of these kids are having S-E-X.

More »

Husband of Nechemya Weberman's Accuser Is a Victim of a Death Threat

Nechemya Weberman, front, second from right.
The husband of the Orthodox Jewish teen whose testimony was the lynchpin in the sexual assault case against a religious counselor in the Brooklyn Satmar Hasidic community received a death threat on his Facebook on Monday afternoon. Boorey Deutsch, whose wife was 12 years old when Nechemya Weberman began abusing her -- abuse that would continue for three years -- received a nasty comment regarding his wife's role in landing Weberman a 103-year prison sentence.

More »

NYPD Creates Fake Facebook Profiles of Young Women to Spy on Suspected Gang Members

Categories: Facebook, NYPD

Screengrab from the movie Catfish
As the New York Times reported on Thursday, the NYPD has a new anti-gun violence strategy called Operation Crew Cut. One part of this strategy involves keeping tabs on suspected gang members' social media feeds, to try to spot any simmering tensions or vows of retaliation. That means following the young men on Twitter and Instagram.

Facebook, however, requires a bit more nuance.

In order to Facebook friend their targets, the Times noted, officers are "pretending to be young women to get around privacy settings that limit what can be seen."

More »

Facebook Is Moving to the Village

Categories: Facebook

Anirudh Koul via Compfight cc
Well, we guess 335 Madison Avenue got a bit boring for the likes of Facebook, which is officially moving into 100,000 square feet of office space at 770 Broadway in 2014--right next to Astor Place, kitty-corner to the Cooper Union, and a few blocks up from the Village Voice. The social media site has also brought on architectural rock star Frank Gehry (you know, the guy behind this, this, and this), to design "open floor plans, natural lighting, and an emphasis on space for collaboration," according to Betabeat.

More »

Should You Post That to Facebook? A Handy Guide

Facebook can be a tricky place. Home to over-sharers and extroverts, the social network can get pretty weird for the rest of us. It seems as if no one ever asks, "Should I post this to Facebook?" before posting. To help, we've asked that question for you, along with reasons why you should--or shouldn't--publish that status update.

More »

Quiz: Facebook Targeted Advertising Partner or Evil Corporation From a Movie?

Late last month, Facebook announced that it will begin targeting users for advertising with information gained from outside the site. In the past, the social network would only pick up cues based on your behavior on Facebook. If you liked a page about dog care tips, soon you would see dog food ads pop up. Simple. Somewhat annoying, but simple.

That is all about to change.

According to the New York Times, "Facebook announced partnerships with four companies that collect lucrative behavioral data, from store loyalty card transactions and customer e-mail lists to divorce and Web browsing records."

More »

Mark Zuckerberg Will Fundraise For (Facebook Friend) Chris Christie's Re-Election

It's good to have someone with over 17 million Facebook friends on your side, especially when it involves a political campaign.

According to Buzzfeed, Mark Zuckerberg, the social network billionaire, will hold a fundraiser next month for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie out in Palo Alto, California. The donations are intended to go towards Mr. Christie's re-election efforts later this year; a race where he maintains a 60% approval rating over the only Democratic competitor so far, State Senator Barbara Buono.

In 2010, the two met when Mr. Zuckerberg decided to donate $100 million to the Newark school system. He announced the enormous amount on the Oprah Winfrey Show, alongside Mr. Christie and Newark Mayor Cory Booker. And, ever since then, the three have worked together on improving education in Mr. Booker's stomping grounds.

In terms of electoral prospects, Mr. Christie has been riding off a wave of applause from his state. His Sandy recovery efforts (and friendship with Pres. Obama during it) landed him on the national stage; his snubbing of the Republicans in Congress for delaying aid money won him widespread acclaim; and his appearance on SNL probably helped a bit, too.

But the news of Mr. Zuckerberg's fundraiser is important for a few other reasons.

More »

The Last Year Of My Life, Brought To You By Facebook

On average, an ordinary, freedom-loving American spends about eight hours a month on Facebook. That's sixteen minutes a day, seven day a week, ninety six hours a year. Simple math aside, Mark Zuckerberg has you under his watch for eight full days. And, if you have Facebook on your smartphone, well then...

Some might use that tidbit of information as viral proof that, yes, the Mayan calendar is definitely accurate. Others might attribute this social media addiction to an absence of interpersonal communication in the self-obsessed  digital age. And other others might just be on Facebook right now, too busy to care about those dumb statistics. But what do we Facebook-digest in those eight full days of the year? 

Of course, we have cat photos, baby photos, last night photos, lyrics as Facebook statuses, funny articles to share, memes, gifs, jpegs, m4as, mp3s, blaring political statements, endless events, birthdays, declarations, proclamations, graduations and consolations on the stream of informational consciousness that is the "News Feed." None of these items bare any repeating.

But, this year, the day-draining site's engineers have taken it a step further to remind you how much time you're living/wasting with their product. The bubble has been reinforced when Facebook rolled out the new "Best in 2012" feature yesterday. When I logged on in the morning, personal listicles of what the social network deemed 'The Biggest Shit These People Have Done' on and off of the computer screen popped up on the screen like acne. 

I took a look at what my 2012 existence was worth in cold hard megabytes, according to Facebook's logic. And, you know, I learned a lot about what I've been up to. But I still (nor never will) have no idea if I feel happy about myself.
More »