Facebook takes its no-nudity policy very seriously—so seriously that one mom found herself banned from the network for 24 hours after posting what she thought was an innocent remake of Coppertone's original tan-line-revealing ad from the 1950s.
During a trip to the beach, North Carolina photographer Jill White took a snapshot of her 2-year-old daughter's back—including, true to the sunscreen brand's famous imagery, a naked part of her daughter's butt—while one of her daughter's friend's played the part of swimsuit-yanking cocker spaniel.
When White shared the shot on Coppertone's Facebook page, some commenters complained, and Facebook asked White to delete the photo or limit its viewing by applying stricter privacy settings. After she ignored the request, she was locked out for a day.
Facebook says it didn't find White's image to be pornographic. But it's far from the social media site's first flap over censorship, especially related to mothers and their offspring. After years of struggling to consistently police breastfeeding photos, Facebook just last month began allowing exposed female nipples in breastfeeding photos (and even that got off to a rough start).
Once Facebook let White back on, she reposted the shot—covering the offending bare-ass bit with a puckered emoji (+1 to mom, for the sass). Looking at the censored version of the image, it is difficult to imagine the uncensored one being anything but harmless. Yet Coppertone has been making its own imagery more demure in recent decades, though it still sparks debate about whether the branding is inappropriate—and if so, why.
Regardless, it's pretty clear that it's natural to err on the side of protecting children. It's also natural for a mother to bristle at the implication she is somehow not protecting her child, especially when the notion seems irrational. But mostly, it's natural for Facebook to err on the side of trying to cover its own ass.