Last week I groggily got out of bed and went down stairs to the living room of my rented apartment. I turned on the lights, sat down in my sofa and took a look around. Something was different. My confused thoughts were interrupted by a rapid knock on the door. It was the police.
“We understand you have some photographs on your wall.”
“Yes,” the police continued. “You have some offensive photographs on your wall, and we are here to confiscate them.”
I was confused and unnerved.
“But…this is MY house! You just can’t come in here and take down my stuff!”
One of the officers shook his head.
“No. You only rent this house. And you’re not allowed to have any offensive or pornographic images on your wall or in your albums.”
“But I don’t…”
“Ma’am! That’s enough chatter.”
They brushed past me and snatched the ‘offending’ image off my wall. Bewildered, I asked them why they had chosen my house?
“We received a tip,” they muttered gruffly.
“A tip? From whom?!” I shouted.
“One of your friends. A friend who visits you often enough told us you had lewd material in your numerous albums and we’re here to take it.”
With that they were gone…taking the two pictures of my uterus and my placenta with them.
That’s pretty much what happened with the Facebook Gestapo came to my photo album chronicling the birth of my second born daughter, Aya. I logged on one day and saw a big yellow alert that said I had violated the photo policy that prohibits the posting of any ‘obscene and/or pornographic material’. Since I am neither a porn connoisseur nor consumer, I wondered what the f**k they were talking about. A quick glance through my albums revealed that the ‘pornographic image was none other than my uterus. Now who in their right mind gets off on a picture of a uterus?? That’s obscene.
Aya is almost 5 years old, so the album is no less than 3 years old. It elicited precisely the response that I wanted (at the time) from my ‘friends’ who stopped by to look: Ewww!! GROSS!!
I’m just weird like that.
Now that the Facebook photo Nazis have come into my internet real estate, rented though it may be, I have been thrust into the realm of deductive reasoning. It’s not a place I like to be. I can only deduce this chain of events based on the facts.
Facebook has over 600 million users on its network. They’re not going to dedicate hundreds of man hours trolling these users photo albums to enforce their image policy. This means they rely on people to report (or snitch) to enforce said policy. A picture of a blurry red blob posted in 2009 can hardly be perceived as “pornographic”. Everything on my account is (or was) private. Only ‘friends’ could view my pictures, and therefore only a friend could have made the report.
I was an avid Facebook user, but I was equally terribly selective about whom I friended or shared my personal information with. So that conclusion that someone that I had allowed into my fold had betrayed me so utterly was a little more than I could take. I immediately went on an unfriending spree. Everyone was a suspect. The prudish members of my church; a small population of pompous Ghanaians; primary school classmates; people I had come to know through my blog or friends of friends. Finally, the speculation became all too much for me to deal with and I just shut the whole thing down. (This is a technique I learned from Prince.) I would never be able to accurately say WHO reported the picture of my pornographic uterus, and I could not bear the thought that despite my cleansing efforts, the offender may still have been lurking among my remaining 333 ‘friends’.
It has been often said that the anonymity of the internet emboldens people to say and do the things they would otherwise never have the power to do in real life. I highly doubt that if Facebook equally reported who lodged the complaint concerning the policy violation, more people would be apt to do it. My hope is that one day the punk ‘kitten’ who reported my image has the balls to call me – or even stop by the house – and confess, so I can tell you in real life what blankity-blank-blanking-blank you are. That, and you’re an idiot if you equate a placenta to a sexually exciting stimulant.