PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -- - They don't censor much at the Terra Cotta Inn, but Facebook told the award-winning nudist resort in Palm Springs to cover up -- online.
"In the last six months, we have had about 30 different photos reported as pornographic or obscene," says owner Tom Mulhall. "It seems we have a cyber-stalker out there, or maybe we are on a Facebook hit list."
Not only photos are flagged, but so are links to articles from MSN and The Guardian, talking about senior nudists and the success of the resort.
As a result, Mulhall is banned from posting to the Terra Cotta Inn Facebook page for 66 of the first 85 days this year. Once a paying advertiser, now he's a disgruntled investor.
"This is high season," he says. "Facebook is one of our biggest ways to attract new customers and keep in contact with existing customers."
Two photos deemed "obscene" were deleted by the social media site, and consequentially banned Mulhall from posting.25153886
One photo is of the co-owner, and Mulhall's wife, Mary Clare, sitting behind a computer screen and answering a phone call. Her chest is revealed from the armpit up. No cleavage is showing. In another photo, the Inn's secretary is holding a hand of cards, advertising casino night at the resort. There is a shadow showing cleavage next to her breast. Facebook determined both photos violate the "Community Standards Policy", which limits nudity.
"Showing bare chest and up like you see at a beach has never ever been deemed obscene," expressed Mulhall, venting that Facebook offers no appeals process.
"Facebook has a generic message where you can message no one in particular, just Facebook, and you always get a canned response. 'We don't have time to read your message, but it's very important to us'," he says.
Facebook's Public Policy:
"Facebook has a strict policy against the sharing of pornographic content and any explicitly sexual content where a minor is involved. We also impose limitations on the display of nudity. We aspire to respect people's right to share content of personal importance, whether those are photos of a sculpture like Michelangelo's David or family photos of a child breastfeeding."
Overwhelmingly, many agreed that the photos and links were not obscene.
"Seriously? Have you seen Miley Cyrus' postings?" says Nina Beck of Palm Desert.
Her friend Cathy Serif of Rancho Mirage echoes that opinion, saying, "Teenage girls around the valley who are posting things are more risque than this. I see absolutely nothing wrong with this."
"Walk down the aisle in any magazine rack and you're going to see that or worse," says Julie of Palm Desert.
We did just that. At the Palm Desert Public Library, we found 10 magazine covers featuring photos with as much or more skin showing than the photos which got Terra Cotta Inn banned from Facebook.
"I would not find it offensive in terms of nudity," says Julie, "If I was offended personally, I would just scroll past it."
That's what Tom Mulhall hopes his proclaimed cyber-stalker will do when he reclaims power over his page later this month.
"At the end of the day, I want my account back, I want to post," says Mulhall.
"I also want, if this cyber-stalker continues... I want somebody at Facebook I can contact to help me with this problem. So in the future they will work with me and not ban me first."
He even invites those that are reporting him to take a trip to the Inn.
"We're very nice people! Take a tour! You might actually enjoy it and stop cyber stalking us!"
Here's a link to Facebook's Community Standards policies, where you can read the rules and regulations yourself: https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards
You can find active posts on the Terra Cotta Inn at www.SunnyFun.com.