A rumor states that Facebook is attempting to block a nativity image because it is offensive. Is there any truth to this rumor?
It’s a Hoax
It’s a hoax, though some users may be “reporting” the photo after seeing the rumor.
There has been no such attempt by Facebook to block this nativity image. It was seen in large numbers last year, and has appeared again in 2013 and 2014. Claims that Facebook was attempting to block it started as a hoax designed to play on the emotions of people so that they would share the photo – and gain popularity for Facebook pages (not unlike the “1 like = 1 prayer” hoax). After originally spreading in late 2012, the image – and incorrect claims of removal by Facebook – continues to circulate. And while it originated with “like collectors” attempting to gain more shares and likes, it is now also being shared by concerned Facebook users who are unaware that it is a hoax.
In some cases, the the image has in fact been “reported” by another Facebook user, but the person who posted the image is not required to remove it just because another user requests it.
The caption of the photo reads, “Facebook is trying to get folks to remove this picture from their profiles because it is “offensive”. Let’s band together and prove them otherwise!!!!!“
The fact that the photo has been shared thousands of times is another indication that Facebook has no intention of blocking it. There may be users who will report the image, but we haven’t heard of anyone being forced to take it down.
Regarding what you can and can’t post on Facebook, their terms state, “You will not post content that: is hate speech, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.“
A nativity photo does not meet any of the above conditions.
It has been suggested that the photo may be copyrighted, and that the copyright holder may object to its posting online. We could find no evidence or objections of any kind to support this claim. Plus, the rumor states that it was found “Offensive” which would not apply to a copyright issue.
November 2014 Update
After posting this photo on Facebook, we received a message from someone who “reported” the photo and asked us to take it down. This was not from Facebook, but from another user. The message simply read, “Wafflesatnoon.com, there’s something about this photo that bothers me. Would you please take it down? Thanks.” We’re not sure if the user was simply trying to be sarcastic, or if he is going around reporting this photo whenever he sees it. We responded that we plan to keep it up. There is still no indication that Facebook is attempting to block this photo. We’ll keep you posted.
Nearly two years later, in 2014, the image remains on our Facebook page. A link to our Facebook page with the photo posted can be found here.
Facebook is not attempting to block a nativity image because it is offensive. The rumor originated from “like collectors” and has since been spread by concerned readers, unaware that it is a hoax.
Updated November 28, 2014
Originally published December 2012