Facebook apologises for blocking iconic artwork

Image of 19th-century masterpiece blocked for showing bare-breasted woman

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Facebook has apologised after it banned an advert featuring Eugene Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People because it shows French symbol Marianne with one breast bared.

The 19th-century work of art was being used as part of an online campaign for a play in Paris. But Facebook blocked the advert saying it breached its rules on nudity. A second advert with the woman's breasts covered by a banner reading "censored by Facebook" was permitted.

Later, the social media giant apologised "for this error".

"The work 'Liberty Leading the People' rightly has its place on Facebook... We have immediately informed the user that his sponsored publicity is henceforth approved," Facebook manager in Paris Elodie Larcis said in a statement.

It was the third time since June 2017 that the play's director Jocelyn Fiorina had tried to use the masterpiece to promote a play on the social network site.

Last week, Paris civil court ruled that Facebook had failed to fulfill its contractual obligations by closing without prior notice the account of a user who posted a photograph of Gustave Courbet's "The Origin of the World," a painting from 1866 that depicts female genitalia.

But the court also refused to order the company to restore the account or pay damages because the teacher did not prove the account's closure 'caused harm' any and said there was no need to order the account reopened because he was able to set up a new account.

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