By Steve Dellar  |  08-04-2018   News
Photo credit: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

It is becoming clear just how all-powerful the Facebook machine learning algorithm is and how it will influence our future daily lives now that the Canadian Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal had to go several rounds with the social media site to get its machine filter to ‘unblock’ the abstract Picasso painting they had on display for the summer.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Facebook axes museum ad over Picasso nude: Facebook rejects Montreal museum&#39;s ad over Picasso nude: The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts online ad showed abstract breasts painted by the modern master. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts online ad showed… <a href="https://t.co/Fo5clo0Ify">https://t.co/Fo5clo0Ify</a> <a href="https://t.co/Lq1ji51G4t">pic.twitter.com/Lq1ji51G4t</a></p>&mdash; Houston, TX (@Houston_77004) <a href="https://twitter.com/Houston_77004/status/1025488374772064256?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 3, 2018</a></blockquote>

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It comes after the US’s Boston museum of fine Arts and the Belgians Antwerp Rubens museum faced similar problems.

Given the widespread popularity of the social media platform, museums are forced to announce their new exhibits on the site to lure tourists and international travelers, but the machine-learning algorithm is not too fond of anything nude apparently, which takes out a lot of classic, and now even abstract, art.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">&#39;It&#39;s ridiculous. It&#39;s Picasso&#39;: Facebook reviewing anti-nudity policy after blocking Montreal museum ad <a href="https://t.co/gWBvuvsquD">https://t.co/gWBvuvsquD</a> <a href="https://t.co/FzEHNlkOp0">pic.twitter.com/FzEHNlkOp0</a></p>&mdash; CBC Tech and Science (@CBCTechSci) <a href="https://twitter.com/CBCTechSci/status/1025351066462896130?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 3, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Museum spokeswoman Ms Pascale Chasse claims that the painting used “wasn’t shocking. The algorithm doesn't see the difference between a piece of art and a bad ad.”

Related coverage: <a href="https://thegoldwater.com/news/31620-Oregon-Art-Gallery-Faces-Backlash-Over-Trump-ISIS-Beheading-Display">Oregon – Art gallery criticized for Trump beheading display</a>.

In their first round of discussion with Mr Zuckerberg’s company, the museum stated that the algorithm had blocked Pablo Picasso's “Femmes à la toilette,” which it had used as one of the main promotional press images for the show. The Canadian museum ran an exhibit looking at the influence of African art on Spanish painter Picasso and the artist's subsequent impact on contemporary African artists in return.

As the first image was rejected and Facebook had not yet responded to their demands, they tried a second time with an even more abstract image: “Large Still Life with Pedestal Table” (pictured) which was also rejected.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">UPDATED: Facebook confirms nudity policy under review after Montreal museum’s Picasso ad rejected <a href="https://t.co/q0a2uQAb3l">https://t.co/q0a2uQAb3l</a></p>&mdash; CTV News (@CTVNews) <a href="https://twitter.com/CTVNews/status/1025431103144898561?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 3, 2018</a></blockquote>

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In the end, the museum had to resort to a still of the second painting inside a museum room, showing clearly that it is part of an exhibit before the Facebook algorithm would allow it to be posted.

Related coverage: <a href="https://thegoldwater.com/news/29292-Kansas-Mother-Of-Boy-Who-Broke-132K-Museum-Sculpture-Refuses-Responsibility-Video">Kansas – mother of boy who broke $132k museum sculpture refuses responsibility</a>.

Many art experts have already voiced their fear that a whole generation of youngsters will never get to see fine arts paintings like the masterpieces made during the renaissance age due to the heavy use of nude models, which are forbidden on the social media site.

Source:

https://www.ctvnews.ca/entertainment/this-is-fine-art-facebook-reviews-nudity-policy-after-museum-s-picasso-ad-rejected-1.4039275

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