Facebook suspends Italian woman’s account after she posts image of two women kissing in support of LGBT rights

This image saw 28-year-old mother Carlotta Trevisan told she had violated the site’s rules on ‘nudity and pornography’

Adam Withnall
Tuesday 20 May 2014 16:33 BST
This is the pro-LGBT rights image that saw an Italian woman suspended from Facebook after the social media site claimed it violated rules on 'nudity and pornography'
This is the pro-LGBT rights image that saw an Italian woman suspended from Facebook after the social media site claimed it violated rules on 'nudity and pornography'

A woman in Italy has had her Facebook account suspended after she posted a pro-LGBT rights picture of two women kissing.

Carlotta Trevisan, a 28-year-old mother, was told she had broken Facebook’s rules regarding “nudity and pornography” when she uploaded the image to mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) on Saturday.

Last week Italy was identified in a study to mark IDAHOT as one of the worst countries in Europe for LGBT rights, and sure enough Ms Trevisan’s was met with a string of abusive messages.

She told the La Stampa newspaper how one user said it was “disgusting” and another complained that they “have young children to protect”.

Facebook contacted Ms Trevisan later that day, she said, to ask her to remove the image. When she refused, she was told her profile would be deleted for “violating the community’s standards”.

The stock image Ms Trevisan posted is widely used online to illustrate LGBT stories and issues, and she was left baffled and angry by all the fuss.

“What was the harm with this photo, especially when so many like this can be found on Google? How can one photo provoke such sensitivity?”

“There is nothing bad about a kiss,” she said. “When I see people of the same gender kissing, I only see love, nothing else.”

Last week a Rainbow Europe survey identified Italy as one of the worst 10 countries in the continent for LGBT rights, scoring just 25% compared to the UK's 82%

Since the incident on Saturday evening, Ms Trevisan’s Facebook page appears to have been restored – after which she promptly posted the “offending” image as her profile picture.

It has once again received dozens of comments – this time largely from people saying: “Welcome back!”

Ms Trevisan told La Stampa the incident had been “sobering”, and she said she worried that younger women and girls might be subjected to a similar experience.

“I’m 28 years old and can fight back – but if that same photo had been posted by a 16-year-old girl how would she feel?

She said she thought most about her six-year-old daughter when she fought for her rights. “I’m thinking of her future,” Ms Trevisan said.

A spokesperson for Facebook told The Independent: “In an effort to quickly and efficiently process reports we receive, our community operations team reviews many reports every week, and as you might expect, occasionally, we make a mistake and block a piece of content we shouldn't have.

“We can understand how people can be frustrated with this when, as in this case, a mistake happens.”

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