Why does Fb hold rejecting our merchandise?

Last week we uploaded our shop's catalog to our Facebook page to capture the elusive social media traffic. It was a strange and mysterious experience to entrust our goods to the algorithm. One of the strangest aspects was the products that got rejected.

While Facebook helpfully listed the "policy issues" that every art-inspired element has violated, some of the reasons stated were utterly confusing. To top it off, we cannot deny the majority of them. Well

We may never understand the tech giant's machinations and why he believes a floral print clutch is an animal, but it at least made us laugh. Here's a list of some of our favorite gifts, books, toys, and more that we best guess were just too hot for Facebook.


Find Frida

The social network takes a firm stance towards this search book by Frida Kahlo and considers it a “product for adults” with “openly sexualized positioning”. We can't figure out exactly why this book was flagged as explicit, but hey, if you're a fan, check out the rest of our collection to learn more about Frida, which is equally suggestive.

The art of misbehaving

Sexy Times continues with The Art of Behaving Badly, the new Guerilla Girls book and the first publication that catalogs her entire career from 1985 to the present day. It's more than a monograph, it's also an adult product (or so says Facebook), and we suspect Zuck is having some beef with the guerrilla girls because we're forbidden to advertise most of their products .

My life is crap tea towel

This cheerful tea towel is the champ of the list as it violates two guidelines and has been banned from three channels. One of the reasons for its criticism is that it promotes "buying and selling animals". Although this lamb is terribly cute, we feel obliged to put an end to the illusion and reveal that it is just a print and not a real living being. The other Magda Archer product that made it into this animalistic category is the cute yellow clutch that we mentioned earlier.

Basically everything in our Keith Haring collection

These have been labeled as "promoting the purchase or sale of tobacco products or tobacco paraphernalia" and, okay, fair, we fully understand it. It's not that we use them on tobacco, but you can still buy them direct from our store – they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and there are four iconic designs to choose from. We also have G-rated Keith Haring goodies like these cool glass bowls and this adorable Keith Hairball cat needle which you can also find on our Facebook page.

Helen Frankenthaler notecards

We are beginning to believe that Facebook might have some … problems … with female artists, as this set of 20 cards with paintings by Abstract Expressionist Helen Frankenthaler is the third item that was rejected as "sexually suggestive". Maybe the algorithm mistook one of the brush strokes on the box for a nipple? We all know they are afraid of these.

Black Square editions

Apparently there is something about poetry about advertising which is unfortunate because we believe people should read more poetry! Quite a few of the titles we carry from independent publisher Black Square Editions encountered problems with Facebook's advertising policies, but we suspect we will never get the details, given the list of possible explanations from "selling body parts" to Not selling body parts is enough. ever Orwellian "controversial content".

Patch "unicorn in captivity"

Perhaps the most enigmatic entry on our list, this pretty embroidered patch based on the unicorn tapestries in the Met Cloisters is the only item flagged for violating trade guidelines rather than advertising guidelines. We're not sure what this means or why the enamel needle and silk scarf adjustments of the same artwork made the cut, but some of life's secrets are meant to stay that way.


While you may not find these products on our Facebook page, fear not because you can purchase them directly from our online store – which, along with our new membership program, is a great way to support our independent art journalism!

For more art-inspired gifts, books, and housewares, see the Hyperallergic Store.

Please allow additional time for shipping as we process orders.

Thank you for supporting Hyperallergic with your purchase.

Support Hyperallergic

As art communities around the world experience a time of challenge and change, accessible, independent reporting on these developments is more important than ever. Please remember to support our journalism and keep our independent reporting free and accessible to all.

Become a member.

About the author


Leave a Comment