You may find it hard to believe, but Facebook evaluated the featured image of Venus of Willendorf in our Polish event „In Search for Archetypal Feminine” as promoting inappropriate contents and blocked the advertisement that contained it. The imaged was blocked as, according to Facebook, it was against „The advertising policies”. Really. We were staring at the email we received in pure astonishment. How could it be? Venus of Willendorf, known also as a Nude Woman, curved in oolitic limestone 25 thousand years ago, naked, as it was natural for the art of that time, promotes nudity and thus should be censored. Promoting her image must have been associated by Facebook as instrumental and inappropriate relationship to the feminine body, as the algorithms and procedures of artificial intelligence that work in the FB background are not able to differentiate the content in a way that would allow them to grasp a meaning of the embodied dimension of Archetypal Feminine.
We must admit, that something like this had never come to our mind, so at the beginning we were even amused. After a moment though, we felt we do not quite agree with the exclusion of Venus image form its wider sharing. Besides, we had a past resentment towards Facebook „policies” after it several times had rejected our submissions of bullying posts, which had been published at different weird FB pages on Polish Internet after the death of Maria Czubaszek, Polish writer and satirist. „So, the full of hatred joyful celebration of the death of respected writer is not against moral and ethical standards, and our image with Venus of Willendorf is against them?”, we asked ourselves irritated. We just couldn’t remain passive. Fully aware, that she is starting the conversation with the digital algorithms, the author of the event wrote a clever response:
We are requesting the Facebook advertising policies to verify the decision to reject the featured event image of the „In Search of Archetypal Feminine” advertisement. Please note, that the image represents ancient representation of the Great Mother. The event relates to historical and traditional images of Sacred Feminine. The image is purely of religious and archetypal character. To regard it as an image that promotes nudity is a completely irrational decision that is difficult to comprehend. The removal of nudity from representations of religious and historical meaning seems to indicate poor differentiation of published contents by your system. These kind of simplifications are totally irrational. Above all, please consider, that the advertisement with the same image was approved formerly.
After one hour we received the email with the information, that our case was considered, and the advertisement received the approval. What a satisfaction! We congratulated ourselves the victory over the soulless internet algorithms and we forgot about the whole thing.
After some time we decided to repeat the advertisement. It happened that we were busy with our other events, and we didn’t realize at first that again something was wrong. Only today we noticed, that at our events lists the red sign is posted that reminds the sign „No entry” – „No promotion”, with the explanation: „The event cannot be promoted as it is against the Facebook advertising policies”. For the same reasons.
We thought, that we are tired of submitting our case again, and decided to tell you the story instead, moving the promotion of our event into the hands of the other artificial intelligence – omniscient Goolge SEO. Still, we were left with some uncomfortable feeling, which made us start to wonder.
When the internet artificial intelligence algorithms do not block hatred commentaries and they block ancient archetypal images, we all know, that they do not function properly. But allowing the one type of content, and blocking other constellates our everyday reality, and speaks about its dynamic and shape so we cannot accept it without a thought of reflection. What do we feel, if the soulless algorithm of artificial intelligence regards Facebook posts and comments: „Maria Czubaszek, good she is dead” as appropriate and not violating its policies and the ancient image that represent Sacred Feminine as carrying damaging content? And how can we deal with the helplessness we feel, when we try to do something about it in vein?
On the other hand, how will our internet world look like, when all will be filtered in a perfect way? And can this „perfect” be independent from current trends, political needs and different kind of interests? How will it influence us?
Will we still have the relationship to the palpable, embodied aspect of reality, that little round figure of Wenus of Willendor reminds us about? Venus of Willendorf, Nude Woman, made with the love and respect by the ancient artist, of the size that allows to carry her in one’s hand.
PS 1 This story is of course pure nonsense, everyone knows that rejection of this image by Facebook is just a blindness of Facebook algorithms, and no need to make a fuss about it. Still.
PS 2 Just to mention, that we consider treacherously to make out of this post the Facebook promoted post. Our graphic designer dressed Venus modestly. Check out our FB site.