Facebook Removes Humans of New York's Picture of Gay Teen, Bans Posting

In Depth

A photo posted to Humans of New York’s popular Facebook page today was deleted by administrators almost immediately after going up. The photo’s content, an interview with a gay teen who discusses his hopes and fears, wasn’t offensive and didn’t feature nudity, so why the quick deletion? And how is this photo more awful than some of the other things posted on the site?

Here’s the photo:

There isn’t a lot of information about what happened to the photo, but Brandon Stanton, the creator of Humans of New York posted the following message several minutes ago:

Seems that Facebook removed the young man’s brave statement and is now preventing me from uploading any further photos. I’m hoping it was a mistake. It is currently still on Instagram and I’m trying to figure out how to get it back up.

Several commenters suggested that someone might have reported the photo as offensive, but considering how popular the page is, it doesn’t make sense that someone didn’t check the page or contact Stanton before auto-removing it. Instead, Stanton alleges to have had his privileges temporarily removed.

The photo can still be seen on Instagram and was just reposted to the HONY Facebook page. Stanton has repeated that he hopes it was a mistake and not done maliciously. Fans of the page are being supportive of both Stanton and the subject of the photo, who may have some feelings about the fact this his photo, with a caption about being afraid people won’t like him because he’s gay, was removed so quickly.

Update: a Facebook employee has reached out and stated that the deletion was due to a bug in the infrastructure. The photo is back on the site.

Contact the author at [email protected].

Image via Facebook screenshot

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