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Facebook makes U-turn after 'banning' Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy artwork

Led Zeppelin in the 1970s © Getty

Facebook has made a U-turn after it apparently banned the seminal artwork to Led Zeppelin’s 1973 album ‘Houses of the Holy’.

Created by Aubrey Powell of Hipgnosis fame, the otherworldly cover to Led Zeppelin’s fifth studio album was shot at Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland and features the siblings Stefan and Samantha Gates, who were aged five and seven respectively at the time.

Earlier this week it was reported that the image was being removed from Facebook as it violated the social media giant’s community standards guidelines due to its depiction of child nudity.

Ultimate Classic Rock claim they received a take-down notice from Facebook after posting the ‘Houses of the Holy’ image saying it was "flagged by other members of the community.”

They reported that Facebook told them: "Since children as young as 13 years old use Instagram/Facebook and the app is available in third-party app stores, there are rules regarding nudity and solicitation that we have to follow.

"We place limitations on the display of this content to limit exposure of sensitive content."

Facebook added that "if the content is still live in 48 hours, it will automatically be deleted. Repeated violations may impact the page's ability to monetise."

After the story was widely reported by numerous publications, last night Facebook made a U-turn and seemingly reversed their decision to ban ‘Houses of the Holy’. They also vowed to reinstate the deleted posts.

"As our community standards explain, we don’t allow nude images of children on Facebook," a spokesperson told UCR. "But we know this a culturally significant image. Therefore, we’re restoring the posts we removed.”

UCR wrote ‘(Facebook) will adjust its review mechanisms to permit sharing of this cover by all users. Facebook also plans to allow similar content on a case-by-case basis that might otherwise violate their standards if it is deemed newsworthy, significant or important to the public interest.’

The artwork to ‘Houses of the Holy’ was inspired by the ending of Arthur C. Clarke's 1953 science fiction book Childhood’s End where all the children of the Earth rise up in a firestorm and go to outer space.

Aubrey Powell told Rolling Stone in 2017: “If you did an album cover like that now, you couldn’t release it. Naked children on the cover? But it was done with such innocence.”

Defending the sleeve, he added: “When you look at the Louvre’s paintings, it’s full of naked children. Nobody complains about that. So this is a piece of art. It’s not something that was, in any way, devious.”

To celebrate Led Zeppelin’s 50th anniversary, last year Planet Rock rounded up 50 facts about Led Zeppelin’s seminal album covers. Check it out here:

50 facts about Led Zeppelin’s iconic album covers

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