Twice in the last three weeks Meta has decided to take down cartoons; first a cartoon by Vasco Gargalo from the Cartoon Movement Facebook page and Instagram and this week a cartoon by me from my personal Facebook profile. Both cartoons dealt with the oppression of women by the Taliban. It seems drawing a person with a beard and a headscarf is now enough to sympathize with terrorism, at least according to Facebook.
This is not a new problem. Cartoonists see their work taken down frequently by Meta due to a perceived infringement of its policies. It's difficult to predict when cartoons are picked up by the algorithm. In other instances, users that don't agree with the point of view of a certain cartoon can report it and have it taken down.
We cartoonists have a love-hate relationship with social media; I hate giving my work away for free to a platform that makes money off of it by surrounding it with ads, but in all honesty my career would not be where it is today if I hadn't used social media to get some exposure for my work.
Protesting Meta's decision to remove content is not oftem successful. However, since a couple of years Meta has established an independent Oversight Board where you can send an official appeal. Although the position of social media is changing (and the influence of Facebook definitely isn't what it used to be), they still play an important role in the public debate. I believe cartoons also have an important role in the public debate, and cartoonists should be able to produce political satire without fear of having it taken down randomly. One solution could be to have a special verification for professional cartoonists; once verified, you could be sure to get a human to review your work if it is reported by the algorithm or a disgruntled user.
To this effect, I've submitted an appeal to the oversight board. I'm not expecting much, as they only select very few cases to make an official ruling, but if the pick this one it might contribute to a better position for cartoonists on Meta.
Cartoon Movement editor