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Facebook bans Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy cover artwork: Report

on June 19, 2019, 12:27pm

Anyone trying to post the cover of Led Zeppelin’s 1973 classic Houses of the Holy on Facebook might run into some censorship issues.

According to Classic Rock magazine, the social media site has apparently banned the iconic cover image that depicts nude children ascending the rocks at the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, built from a collage of photos by Aubrey Powell of Hipgnosis.

Michelle Kaotic, who runs a Led Zeppelin Facebook page, used the album art for an event page in 2011 — eight years later, the event image has been banned by the site. Further reports from other users and fan page operators yielded similar results, with their image being flagged and removed. Some users were even blocked out of their accounts for three days.

A Change.org petition has even been set up, asking Facebook to remove the censorship. When Kaotic attempted to share the petition, even that resulted in repercussions because of the thumbnail image.

“Approximately 30 minutes after posting the petition on my page, I received a notice that the post went against community standards,” she said. “I then created another post, mentioning how the petition was removed. Before too long, everyone was commenting, indicating that they had shared the petition and been given warnings. The link to the petition was being removed by anyone sharing it. All because the thumbnail image was the album cover. I even had page members message me to indicate that they had been given 24 hour bans. Some even received three days.”

The cover is likely victim to Facebook’s automatic filters that use algorithms paired with human votes from censorship employees to filter uploaded content and keep pedophilia, gruesome imagery, and other illegal and obscene content from reaching the site.

According to Facebook, 96 percent of content with nudity does not go live. Somewhere along the line, the Houses of the Holy sleeve got grouped with this banned content. Despite its artistic merits, it makes sense that the image could’ve been flagged by a moderator who’s never heard of Led Zeppelin, blocking the image for the fact that it technically does include child nudity.

That said, Facebook once banned the artwork for Nirvana’s Nevermind and Jane’s Addiction’s Nothing Shocking and Ritual De Lo Habitual, only to later un-ban them. With the petition and news coverage of the Led Zeppelin cover ban, it’s possible that the site could specifically remove the image from its content firewall.

Update 6/20: Facebook has reversed course, lifting its ban on Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy album cover. More details here.

Led Zeppelin House of the Holy Album Cover:

Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy Album Cover