Free the nipple: LED teats contest censorship on Facebook

Anonymous Spanish art collective Luzinterruptus create a carpet of glowing nipples outside Madrid's Facebook office to protest against censorship.

The Spanish guerilla arts collective Luzinterruptus have been carrying out urban interventions since 2008. From Christmas trees made of glowing plastic bags to point out the consumerist extravagance of the holiday, to toilet seats that framed the Spanish Constitution to suggest that the "government doesn't give a shit".

The collective use light as their raw material of choice. Carried out at the end of December, their most recent intervention challenged Facebook's censorship of the female nipple, which bans images featuring nipples even when the images are medical. Any offending images or articles are removed from the platform and the perpetrator's account may be frozen or closed. 

"Although we are told that such censorship is imposed by machines that obey complicated algorithms, there are also flesh and blood censors – whom Facebook exploits miserably in the Third World with unfairly low salaries – who make sure their network is clean and free of any female nipples," says the Luzinterruptus artists on their website.

"Thus, chosen by themselves, the keepers of morality in the world, having no opposition on our part, they remove from their pages important works of art, documentary photographs or images of women breastfeeding their babies in awkward positions. They want to make us think that, this way, people feel safer using Facebook."

Interestingly, there are no restrictions on graphic images of death, violence, destruction, disease, sexism, sexist contents that are potentially degrading for women. It seems everything goes, unless it is a nipple.

"We could not let any more time pass without showing our rejection to such hypocritical policies where pornography is exclusively associated with the display of the female body."

The collective placed 400 teats, like those used to breastfeed babies, lit with LED lights at the entrance of the Facebook offices in Madrid. The installation was meant to demonstrate in a physical space the censorship going on in the virtual world. 

The installation lasted for five hours, and all 400 teats are now available to any association who may need them. 

All images by Lola Martínez.