Facebook Bans Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy Album Cover Artwork

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Photo Credit: Derek Valasquez / CC by 2.0

Facebook has banned Led Zeppelin’s 1973 album, Houses of the Holy, because the album cover features nudity.

The social media company has come under fire recently for the lax enforcement of its terms of service. After hiring 4,500 moderators to help police content, the company appears to be grossly over-enforcing its nudity guidelines.

The offending artwork features what appears to be children crawling over rocks with their bare buttocks exposed. There is no genitalia on display (unlike on Nirvana’s Nevermind album), but the company appears to be taking no chances.

Moderators and administrators of several Led Zeppelin fan pages were told the image violates Facebook’s community rules.

Some fans are even receiving lock-outs for having uploaded the album cover. One woman who adminned a Jimmy Page fan page was locked out of her Facebook account for three days over the album cover. Fans angry that the album cover is being censored brought the issue to the band’s attention.

A petition was subsequently launched asking Facebook to reconsider its policy on the album cover. But even sharing that petition on Facebook has been met with a challenge. Posts mentioning the petition are being removed surreptitiously and cited as violating community rules.

“The link to the petition was being removed by anyone sharing it. All because the thumbnail image was the album cover. I even had page members message me to indicate that they had been given 24-hour bans. Some even received three days.”

Facebook’s guidelines say nudity is permitted in “photographs of paintings, sculptures, or other art depicting nude figures.” But Facebook itself has admitted that algorithms detecting nudity may not be able to tell the difference.

The image is then bumped over to human moderators, who reportedly only have five seconds to make the Yes or No decision. The human moderator may not be familiar with the band to understand its representation as a work of art.

Once a human says the image contains suspect material, Facebook’s algorithm will aggressively remove any content featuring that image.

4 Responses

  1. Michelle Kaotic

    I am the admin in the article from Classic Rock. A few short hours after sharing the article on my Zeppelin page, I received a notice that it went against Facebook community standards and was issued a 3 day ban. They also threatened me that they would unpublish my page, despite having over 330,000 members on it. The fact that Facebook allows much more offensive things on their platform, even claiming that nudity if it is art, is acceptable, should ban this album cover, which in essence is “art” by the definition. Numerous appeals have been launched, and unfortunately, no humans actually work at Facebook it seems, since no appeals ever get answered. In 2019, it is extremely disappointing that they are banning a 46yr old album.

    • Marta

      That’s crazy !! There is nudity everywhere we go , in form of artwork. There are no actual photos of children. Why so “bent” about it. It certainly wasn’t banned then . For real, what’s the seemingly great big deal now. Petty mindset! Maybe they r the ones that should be banned. It’s a great album it’s art!! Go figure!!!

      • Rick

        So I went to Northern Ireland with a crew of children that we’d chosen, the mothers of the children, chaperones, makeup people. Originally, it was going to be a family. We were going to have a mother and father, naked, and a Silver Surfer–type character, and two children, who were going to be on the rocks.nightmare to shoot, and the kids got so cold. It was two siblings, Stefan and Samantha Gates. The boy, Stefan, now has a TV show, and he’s a celebrity chef. He told me a while back, “It’s the weirdest thing to be on an album cover like that. You couldn’t do that now.” And I said, “No, you couldn’t. If you did an album cover like that now, you couldn’t release it.” Naked children on the cover? But it was done with such innocence. https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-lists/hipgnosis-life-in-15-album-covers-pink-floyd-led-zeppelin-and-more-110213/genesis-the-lamb-lies-down-on-broadway-1974-2-110431/