Facebook banned lesbian couple's video after deeming it adult content

Facebook banned lesbian couple's video after deeming it adult content

September 30, 2020

Facebook took offence at lesbians’ TWERKING: Algorithm banned couple’s video after deeming their dancing to be explicit adult content

  • Singer Sera Golding-Young, 36, and wife Frankie, 32, posted video on Facebook  
  • Couple posted same picture using heterosexual couple and it passed censors
  • Facebook admitted their algorithm incorrectly identified twerking in the video

A lesbian couple’s video deemed as having explicit adult content was rejected by Facebook after it mistakenly identified the routine containing ‘twerking’.   

Musical duo Sera Golding-Young, 36, and her wife Frankie, 32, had posted a video to announce the release of a new album – and made a sponsored advertisement in a bid to reach fans.

But the post was said to have violated Facebook’s Community Standards rules under its ‘Objectionable Content’ clause, which targets illicit images of nudity or sexual activity.

The couple claim they uploaded the same video and copy but used a picture of a heterosexual couple in the same romantic pose – and it passed the social media giant’s censors.  

Facebook spokesperson told MailOnline today their algorithm had incorrectly identified twerking after the outraged couple lodged their complaint.

 Mrs Golding-Young, from Guildford, Surrey said: ‘It’s a romantic image of us with our foreheads touching, and we use this for all our profile photos across all platforms because we believe it’s a beautiful, artistic shot of two people in love.’

YouTube video:  Dancing in the couple’s video was deemed as having explicit adult content and ‘twerking’


It was originally thought this YouTube video violated Facebook’s Community Standards rules under its ‘Objectionable Content’ clause, which targets illicit images of nudity or sexual activity 

‘The ad was originally rejected because it included explicit dancing and was accepted after additional review,’ said the spokesperson.

‘The ad would not have been rejected for including images of same-sex couples because that content is of course allowed under our policies and can be found in advertising across the platform.’    

Earlier this week when the video was uploaded Mrs Golding-Young, from Guildford, Surrey said: ‘I understand that Facebook can mistakenly reject things sometimes, but when I saw the explanation, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Singer-songwriter Sera Golding-Young (right), 36, and her wife Frankie (left), 32, had posted the short video to announce the release of a new album – and made it a sponsored advertisement in a bid to reach fans

‘I assumed it had to be a mistake, so we sought multiple appeals and re-submitted the ad several times, but each time we received the same rejection message.

‘We had to wrack our brains to figure out what could have possibly been so explicit about our content. We eventually realised it might, sadly, be the image of us together.

‘It’s a romantic image of us with our foreheads touching, and we use this for all our profile photos across all platforms because we believe it’s a beautiful, artistic shot of two people in love. ‘

Facebook launched an investigating into the matter to find out what had happened.

The couple, who founded their rock group Unsung Lily in 2012, had posted the video after losing income when Covid-19 sparked a shutting of music venues. 

The film invited fans to join a page which would allow them to go behind the scenes of the creation of their new album.

When the advert was rejected, Mrs Golding-Young conducted an experiment and posted another advert containing an identical video and copy. They also changed the photograph of them to a ‘non-romantic’ shot of themselves.

Mrs Golding-Young said: ‘When we talked about what happened on our social pages, many of our friends and fans shared our outrage.

The couple claim they posted the same video and copy but used a picture of a heterosexual couple in the same romantic pose – and it passed the social media giant’s censors

‘Some people even came up with possible explanations for why the advert was rejected. 

‘These ideas included theories such as Facebook prohibiting intimacy of any kind in advertisements, but if that was the case, it should have rejected the advert which showed a romantic shot of the heterosexual couple, too.

‘As members of the LGBTQ community, we know how important it is to see ourselves represented and reflected in the media. 

‘Visibility can save lives, particularly for transgender people, LGBTQ people of colour and youth.

Pictured is: Sera (right) with Frankie in the image which was passed by Facebook

‘Women are often over-sexualised, and female couples even more so. Two women in love, gently resting their foreheads together is romantic – not sexual. By rejecting images like this, Facebook is reinforcing the hyper-sexualisation of women and female couples.

‘If Facebook is restricting LGBTQ content because its systems consider our kind of love to be ”adult” and ”sexually explicit”, that means they are actively erasing the LGBTQ experience and silencing LGBTQ voices.

‘Facebook is a platform which claims to connect people, so why does their platform silence these voices and prevent us from connecting with our communities? Facebook has a responsibility to represent everyone in a fair and just manner.

Following the rejection of their advertisement, Mrs Golding-Young contacted the American Civil Liberties Union, which contacted Facebook for an explanation on their behalf

‘That means addressing how the LGBTQ community can feel at home on Facebook when the platform appears to discriminate against members of our community for showing who we are.’

Following the rejection of their advertisement, Mrs Golding-Young contacted the American Civil Liberties Union, which contacted Facebook for an explanation on their behalf.

Mrs Golding-Young said: ‘Facebook replied claiming the ads were rejected ‘incorrectly’ and assured us that the rejection had nothing to do with the LGBTQ content, but rather the dancing in the video.

When the advert was rejected, Mrs Golding-Young conducted an experiment and posted another advert containing an identical video and copy. They also changed the photograph of them to a ‘non-romantic’ shot of themselves

‘They would not explain why the advert with the exact same dancing but with a heterosexual couple was accepted in our tests.’

Facebook’s community page says: ‘We restrict the display of nudity or sexual activity because some people in our community may be sensitive to this type of content.

‘Additionally, we default to removing sexual imagery to prevent the sharing of non-consensual or underage content. 

‘Restrictions on the display of sexual activity also apply to digitally created content unless it is posted for educational, humorous, or satirical purposes.’ 

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