Is Facebook is attempting to block a drawing of a nativity image because it is offensive to some readers?
It’s a Hoax
Although this has proven to be a long-running myth, some users have actually “reported” the photo after seeing the rumor. It doesn’t appear that Facebook has ever removed the photo as a result of these reports.
There has been no such attempt by Facebook to block this benign nativity image. Posts claiming that Facebook wanted to remove the image was seen in large numbers in 2012, and re-appeared in 2013, 2014, and 2015. The suggestion that Facebook was attempting to block the image 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). Despite years of posts claiming Facebook wants to remove the image, it continues to circulate. And while the first posts on the subject originated with “like collectors” attempting to gain more shares and likes, concerned Facebook users who were unaware that it was only a myth began to spread the false message.
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.
One caption of the photo read, “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 Facebook actually removing it.
Regarding what you can and can’t post on the social network, Facebook’s 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 claim.
After posting this photo on Facebook in 2012, 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.” It wasn’t clear to us if the user was simply trying to be sarcastic, or reporting this photo whenever possible. We responded that we plan to keep it up. There is still no indication that Facebook is attempting to block this photo, and three years later, in 2015, 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 15, 2015
Originally published December 2012