A lesbian couple have claimed that a Facebook post that showed them gently leaning their heads against each other was censored for featuring “sexually explicit adult content”.
Sera Golding-Young and her wife Frankie shared the image in a video promoting their new album, released under the name Unsung Lilly.
But they were shocked when the video, which they paid to promote as sponsored content, was rejected under Facebook’s community guidelines.
The couple later shared an identical image featuring a straight couple, which passed through Facebook’s algorithm without issue.
“I understand that Facebook can mistakenly reject things sometimes, but when I saw the explanation, I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Sera Golding-Young told the Daily Mail.
“I assumed it had to be a mistake, so we sought multiple appeals and re-submitted the ad several times, but each time we received the same rejection message.
“We had to wrack our brains to figure out what could possibly have been so explicit about our content. We eventually realised it might, sadly, be the image of us together.
“It’s a romantic image of us with our foreheads touching, and we use this for all our profile photos across all platforms because we believe it’s a beautiful, artistic shot of two people in love,” she added.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) contacted Facebook on the lesbian couple’s behalf.
Golding-Young said it is vital that LGBT+ people see themselves reflected popular culture, and said queer visibility can “save lives”.
“Two women in love, gently resting their foreheads together is romantic – not sexual. By rejecting images like this, Facebook is reinforcing the hyper-sexualisation of women and female couples.”
She also hit out at Facebook for considering their relationship to be too “adult” and “sexually explicit” for public consumption.
The American Civil Liberties Union contacted Facebook on behalf of the couple, and the social media giant claimed that their advert was rejected “incorrectly”.
They said its rejection had nothing to do with their sexuality but was based on the dancing in the video.
However, the couple said they posted a test video featuring a heterosexual couple dancing, which was not flagged as being inappropriate.