Most people know that posting pictures of boobies on Facebook is a surefire way to get banned. But what if the “Boobies” in question aren’t breasts, but birds?
Christmas Island Tourism, the small Australian island’s tourism board, says its Facebook ad inviting eco-tourists to its annual Bird ‘n’ Nature Week has been unfairly banned. Along with images of the Red-footed Booby, Brown Booby and critically endangered Abbott’s Booby, the ad featured the text: “Some gorgeous shots here of some juvenile boobies.”
The potentially sexual (pedophilic?) dual meaning didn’t sit well with Facebook, which banned the ad for “addressing the age, gender or sexual orientation of users on Facebook”.
But considering the birds aren’t exactly “Facebook users”, the manager of the tourism board, Linda Cash, assumed the ban was a mistake. “We presumed our original advert was blocked automatically,” she said, “so we appealed to Facebook directly who re-affirmed the campaign was banned due to the sexual language—particularly the use of the word ‘boobies.'”
The 1,350 permanent residents of the tiny island rely heavily on eco-tourism to secure their livelihoods, especially September’s Bird’n’Nature Week, which draws birders from around the world to see the island’s 80,000 nesting seabirds, including the Boobies.
Sam Collins, founder of Ethos Travel, which offers trips from the U.K. to Christmas Island, said of the banned campaign: “One of the world’s great eco-tourism destinations is being deprived of its lifeline because someone at Facebook cannot comprehend that a booby is a bird.”