Curator and art historian Ruben Cordova thought that Facebook was the perfect platform to archive the photographic materials equivalent to almost a decade’s worth of his research. He created a network of albums, links, commentaries, and comparanda online, sometimes using those resources for his lectures at universities and galleries. This abundance of scholarship even included materials necessary for Cordova’s forthcoming publication.
But disaster struck in the early morning of November 16. That day, Cordova received an upsetting message from Facebook: the social media company had permanently disabled his account due to an alleged violation of community standards banning sexually explicit content. And with that, Cordova lost access to 9 years’ worth of aggregated resources and materials.
According to Cordova, the Facebook algorithm instantly identified the nude woman in John De Andrea’s hyperrealistic “Self-Portrait with Sculpture” (1980) as a living human being. “I was deemed guilty by the algorithm, and the human ‘moderator’ did not override its decision,” Cordova commented to Hyperallergic via email.