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We’ve got things a bit backwards

"Les Demoiselles d'Avignon" - painting by Pablo Picasso

Yesterday I shared a post on one of my Twitter accounts linking to an Amberfi blog post that included the image you see here, Pablo Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

My tweet shared the post, but the image in the post was blocked by Twitter who warned it contained “potentially sensitive content.”

Twitter sensitive content

In contrast, I posted the same message to my primary Mastodon account, which displayed the image in the blog post as it has done with every message I’ve posted linking to a blog post that contains an image.

While I know you can set or change the default on Twitter and Mastodon to show so-called “potentially sensitive content”or not, I’ve never had this alert on Twitter before. I’ve not even looked at the setting to enable/disable displaying such content, but looking at it now I see it’s set to not display it. That must be the default.

Twitter content you see

On Mastodon, the opposite is true – showing sensitive content is the default.

That said, it might be that the default here is also to not display such content: I have a feeling I might have changed the setting when I first set up Mastodon. So I’ve now reset the setting on the Twitter account to display all content.

Defining what is regarded as sensitive content is covered at length in Twitter’s sensitive media policy. I couldn’t find anything similar on the Mastodon documentation site.

In any case, I do understand the thinking behind giving users the choice on whether to display or hide sensitive content. While there are many obvious candidates for this, it’s also true that one person’s abhorrence is another’s joy, so to speak, so this is a tricky area. To be clear, I’m not talking about really vile stuff like images portraying graphic or sexual violence that any normal person would be seriously offended by.

But I do think things are back to front where a work of art by a famous painter in his Cubism style that depicts aspects of the partly-naked female form is regarded as “potentially sensitive content”, whereas a film poster someone includes in a Twitter post of, say, an actor wearing a pistol in a holster and cradling an assault rifle wouldn’t necessarily be blocked.

It’s also apparent in film categories where a movie might attract an age rating of 15 and a warning of ‘adult content,’ yet a movie that includes scenes of gun battles with bodies dropping everywhere gets a 12 rating and a ‘violence’ warning.

So guns are fine but the naked human form isn’t? Such attitudes probably explain why gun control is so impossible in America. It’s just weird. 🤔