A censored onion photo, because it’s too sexy for Facebook. Here is the mishap that befell Canadian Jackson McLean, owner of an online seed shop. When posting a promotional offer for seedlings of the old variety Walla Walla, he illustrated it with a photo of these onions arranged in a basket.
But Facebook directly detected a potentially sexual photo, recalling that the ads “Cannot position the products or services in a sexually suggestive manner”. By sharing this experience with his clients, Jackson McLean received several testimonials from them explaining that the same mishap had happened to them with pictures of carrots and pumpkins.
A faulty automatic recognition
The problem of course comes from the automatic image recognition implemented by Facebook to limit abuse. “We use automated technology to prevent nudity on our apps, but sometimes it doesn’t differentiate a Walla Walla onion from a, well, you know”Facebook Canada communications manager Meg Sinclair told the BBC with humor.
The advertisement was finally approved by the social network. These onions are now listed in the store catalog under the reference “sexy onions”.