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Facebook sorry for blocking bare-breasted French icon

Facebook admitted on Sunday making a mistake after it banned an advert featuring French artist Eugene Delacroix's famous work, "Liberty Leading the People," because it depicts a bare-breasted Marianne, a national symbol of the French Republic.

Facebook sorry for blocking bare-breasted French icon
Marianne, a symbol of the French Revolution, in "Liberty Leading the People," by Eugène Delacroix Photo: AFP
The 19th-century masterpiece was featured in an online campaign for a play showing in Paris when it was blocked on the social networking site this week, the play's director Jocelyn Fiorina said.
   
“A quarter of an hour after the advert was launched, it was blocked, with the company telling us we cannot show nudity,” Fiorina said.
   
He then posted a new advert with the same painting with the woman's breasts covered with a banner saying “censored by Facebook”, which was not banned.
 
   
Delacroix's subject who brandishes a French flag in the painting is not just any woman — she's Marianne, a national symbol of the French Republic.
   
Fiorina had already tried twice before in June without success to use the painting, which once featured on a franc bank note, in publicity for the theatre.
 
But by Sunday the US social media giant had a change of heart and apologised “for this error”.
   
“The work 'Liberty Leading the People' rightly has its place on Facebook… We have immediately informed the user that his sponsored publicity is henceforth approved,” Facebook manager in Paris Elodie Larcis said in a statement.
   
“In order to protect the integrity of our service, we verify millions ofpublicity images each week and sometimes we make mistakes,” she said.
   
With over one billion users, Facebook is often challenged over its authorisation or not of content on its site.
   
On Thursday, a Paris court threw out a case brought by a French teacher who wanted to sue Facebook over his claims that his page was censored when he posted a nude painting by Gustave Courbet.
   
The court however added that Facebook had made “a mistake” in not specifying to the user the reasons for its move.

FACEBOOK

Facebook agrees with France to pay €106 million in back taxes

US social media giant Facebook on Monday said it had agreed with the French government to pay €106 million in back taxes for its French operations over a 10-year period from 2009, and to pay 50 percent more tax in the current year.

Facebook agrees with France to pay €106 million in back taxes
Many of the US digital giants have their EU headquarters in low-tax-regime countries. Photo: AFP

“We take our tax obligations seriously, pay the taxes we owe in all the markets in which we operate and work closely with tax administrations around the world to ensure compliance with all applicable tax laws and resolve any disputes,” a Facebook France spokesperson said in a statement.

The statement said that since 2018, Facebook changed its sales structure so that “income from advertisers supported by our teams in France is registered in this country”.

“This year we are paying €8.46 million in income tax, an increase of almost 50 percent compared to last year,” it said. 

“We have also entered into an agreement with the tax authorities covering the years 2009-2018, under which we will make a payment of €106 million.”

The payment by American digital giants of tax on revenues in the country in which they are accrued has been the subject of a longstanding conflict between France and the United States. 

Big EU countries say the so-called GAFA – Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon – are unfairly exploiting tax rules that let them declare profits in low-tax havens, depriving governments of a fair share of their fiscal payments.

Many of the US digital giants have their EU headquarters in low-tax-regime countries. 

The dispute between France and the United States on the digital giants' tax has escalated to the extent that the United States in July unveiled heavy import duties on France.

The office of US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer found France's digital services tax was discriminatory and “unfairly targets US digital technology companies,” and said it would impose punitive duties of 25 percent on $1.3 billion worth of French products.

But it will hold off on collecting the fees to allow time for the dispute to be resolved.

READ ALSO: Trump's US wine tariffs 'threaten 100,000 jobs in French countryside'

 

In the meantime, France, Britain, Spain, Italy and others have imposed taxes on the largest digital companies.

US officials have slammed these moves as discriminating against American firms, and say any new levies should come only as part of a broader overhaul of international tax rules.

In January, 137 countries agreed to negotiate a deal on how to tax tech multinationals by the end of 2020, under the auspices of the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

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