Why did Facebook take down this cartoon?

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Originally posted on Newsbytes.ph

Mayon Volcano — which is located in the province of Albay in the Bicol Region — has currently been placed under Alert Level 4 by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS). Residents in the danger zone have been evacuated.

Amid the constant updates about the Mount Mayon situation, a government official posted a video on Facebook. Unfortunately, the government official made the mistake of saying that Mayon Volcano was in Naga City, which is also in the Bicol Region but is most definitely not in Albay. Naga is in the province of Camarines Sur.

As expected, a lot of people made fun of the government official’s gaffe. Others resorted to calling her names and questioning her intellectual capacity. It wasn’t long before memes followed.

One young artist decided to post a cartoon commentary on the hot issue. Out of all the reactions to the issue, the cartoon is clearly one of the kinder and more lighthearted takes. For starters, the government official’s name isn’t even mentioned.

The cartoon, which we are posting here with the artist’s permission, depicts Mayon Volcano as a living thing. The volcano is shown waking up disoriented. The last frame of the cartoon then has the volcano exclaiming, “OMG Nasan ako?” Translation: “Oh my God, where am I?” In the foreground of the panel is a sign bearing the words, “Naga City.”

Our stand on the issue: We all make mistakes. When people make mistakes with the whole country watching, they should expect a flood of jokes about it. Public figures are particularly vulnerable to all sorts of jokes — from cute to cruel and downright foul.

This particular Mayon Volcano cartoon cannot be categorized as even mildly cruel. In fact, it stands out because it turns the volcano into a disoriented persona.

Unfortunately, there were still people who got offended by the cartoon and reported it to Facebook. For some reason, the social media platform deemed it objectionable, too.

For the record, the cartoon has been shared over 1,500 times by the time Facebook took it down sometime in the afternoon of Thursday, January 25. The artist asked us not to link back to the Facebook page where the cartoon was originally posted to prevent further attacks from those who cannot appreciate the cartoon’s punchline.

What gives? We know for a fact that Facebook is rather liberal with some racy content. There are still a lot of those sexist Facebook groups around.

We’re not even talking about press freedom here yet, we’re simply talking about an artist’s right to tell a joke. Is cracking a good joke now considered offensive? Has Facebook turned (gulp!) fascist on us?

Originally posted on Newsbytes.ph