Facebook Korea apologises after feminist activists protest topless

PHOTO: Reuters

Members of a feminist activist group held a shirtless protest against Facebook Korea on Saturday for its “sexually discriminatory” policy that led it to deleting photographs of their topless bodies taken during a previous protest. 

Facebook Korea on Sunday apologized for the deletions and restored the posts that it had deleted.

In front of the Facebook Korea office building in Gangnam, Seoul, 10 female activists of Fire Femi Action took their shirt off, chanting, “My body is not porn.” 

The move came after Facebook Korea deleted pictures the feminist group had posted on their Facebook page on Tuesday, citing the photographs violated its regulations on nude images and sexual activities, and suspended the account for one month. 

On May 26, the feminist group host a “menstruation festival” to say menstruation is nothing to be embarrassed about. Some members took their shirts off at the festival and posted their pictures on their Facebook page three days later. 

At the Saturday’s rally, the police deployed female officers to block the scene with blankets, as the activists held signs reading, “Why do you delete pictures of my breasts that I posted by my own will?” and “Liberate my body from the modern corset.” 

Fire Femi Action wrote in one of the deleted posts that it was unfair to treat photos of shirtless women as “obscene material” while men’s shirtless bodies are perceived as normal. 

“We can easily and often see men playing sports with their shirts off in basketball courts and soccer fields. But for women, it is socially demanded that our bodies be sexily revealed and be hidden for chastity at the same time,” the post read. 

“Pictures of naked woman are often perceived as obscene material and are deleted from online sites, or become content for public shame among men, with the nipples blurred.”

It added that naked male bodies were viewed as normal and not deleted without permission or blotted out.

On Sunday, Facebook Korea restored the deleted posts and apologized, saying its algorithm automatically deleted the photos.

“Photographs that show much of a bare body are automatically deleted by the algorithm. The pictures (posted by Fire Femi Action) carry social messages, so we restored them,” Facebook Korea said.