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She’ll be right mate just doesn’t cut it

Facebook again shows destructive ignorance

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Facebook's curt message to the 60,000 members of a heritage site that curates historic Papua New Guinean photographs


NOOSA – A couple of months ago I ran a piece, ‘Racist’ Facebook doesn’t get the picture, which told how Facebook had blocked a wonderful site, ‘Taim Bipo, Photo History, PNG, Papua & New Guinea’, devoted to safeguarding the photographic heritage of this most photogenic country.

The reason it had blocked the site was because some of the images it showed were of breasts and, for all I know, nipples and penis gourds.

Now Facebook – not known for its morality or its scruples - has again imposed the block and also apparently deleted around 20,000 photos that had been posted by many of the group’s more than 60,000 members.

These people had developed an important and rare historical resource for many people around the world, none more important than Papua New Guineans themselves for whom the site provided a notable archive of a society that existed not so long ago but has now been left behind.

Facebook had done the same thing several years ago when a group bearing a similar name lost its site and tens of thousands of photos.

Peter Kranz, the former Director of Information Resources at the University of PNG, who now lives in Morisset, NSW, has taken up cudgels on behalf of the site in the hope that pressure can be brought to bear on Facebook to reinstate what is not pornography but history and ethnography.

There’s a difference, a big difference.

Peter thinks the most recent block may relate to a video of traditional dancing from a 1970s cultural festival in Port Moresby which contained nothing offensive.

The women dancers’ breasts had even been pre-emptively blacked out so as not to breach Facebook’s so-called “community standards”.

Censored image. Photo of Uiaku schoolgirls taken in 1908 (Australian Museum)
An earlier image censored by Facebook was this photo of Uiaku schoolgirls taken in 1908 and now in the collection of the Australian Museum in Sydney

“This is intolerable and is yet another example of Facebook’s heavy-handed and discriminatory treatment of significant cultural images from such a vital and important culture as Papua New Guinea,” Peter has written to The Guardian newspaper.

“Please can you investigate this, as I know you have covered this in the past and shown up Facebook’s double-standards and hypocrisy which many people see as ingrained racism.”

Let’s hope that Facebook can show some maturity and cultural understanding and reinstate the site, its valuable images and stop imposing its unhealthy world view on the beauty of the world’s human and cultural heritage.


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William Dunlop

Chips - Arthur mentions that Amazon had only one book in stock. I may have just snatched it. Now looking forward to a good read. Slantie.

Once the Amazon computers detect the run on Sivarai (William constituting the panic), I feel sure another copy will be printed to cope with the demand - KJ

Arthur Williams

They had problem when in 2017 the London Metropolitan Police appointed Dame Cressida Rose Dick CBE QPM as the new Commissioner. Cressida is the first female and first homosexual Commissioner of the Met.

I wanted to know about her background and typed 'C Dick'. Nothing came up.

Haven't searched yet for lad in school with me called Roger Shithobottom. We kids had fun with that little boy.

I worked in London with a spinster surnamed 'Bastard'. Apparently her dad's will said she would lose her inheritance if she ever changed her name so perhaps put her off marrying as her kids would be little Bastards.

Must try surfing those two names just for fun.

It's lovely to know Farcebook is such a moral guardian of the snowflake generation.

Diane Bohlen

That is ridiculous. I had a photo banned of my grandkids in their undies.

Arthur Smedley

Chips, obviously Facebook wouldn't be interested, but clearly cover photography helps book sales.

According to the Amazon website there is only one book left in stock, but more are on the way.

Harry Topham

Common fellas, don't take it personally, it is those dam old pesky algorithms that are to blame, give them an inch and they'll take a mile.

Chips Mackellar

No chance of Facebook advertising sales of Sivarai, I suppose.

Amazon has no concerns though - KJ

Lindsay F Bond

No slip of a "nice burg", but a sucker for an income stream.
Invite him to Uiaku to learn what Money did accomplish.

That is, Percy Money, "Anglican lay missionary who lived in Collingwood Bay, Oro Province, PNG, for 10 years from 1901 to 1910."


Peter Kranz

Thanks Keith. The impact is huge of the 20,000 photos that have gone.

Zuckerberg's Facebook seems mired in the mindset of a bunch of outraged US Methodist women from a 1950's evangelical crusade.

Next he'll be outlawing dancing because it might lead to sex before marriage.

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