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Facebook blocks page of Russian explorer’s relative citing semi-nude photos of Papuans

Miklouho-Maclay junior took the photo in the fall of 2017 during an expedition to Papua New Guinea

ST.PETERSBURG, January 22. /TASS/. Facebook administrators have deleted photos of semi-nude Papuans on the page of the great-great grandson of famous Russian anthropologist Nicholas Miklouho-Maclay and blocked access to his own account.

Nikolai Miklouho-Maclay junior told TASS on Monday that the cultural differences between Europeans and Papuans were not taken into account.

"They blocked access to my account and warned me that my pictures do not comply with Facebook’s guidelines. I had to change my password and deleted the photo postcard," he said.

Miklouho-Maclay junior took the photo in the fall of 2017 during an expedition to Papua New Guinea. He used it as a New Year’s postcard on his page and penned holiday wishes under it.

Facebook administrators told the scientist that it was prohibited to use images of nude people even if they are of a non-sexual nature.

"This also concerns the use of images of the naked body for artistic and educational purposes," Nikolai Miklouho-Maclay junior told TASS citing his correspondence with the administrators of Facebook.

He said that he put up the same postcard on Russian social networks VKontakte and Odnoklassniki and that did not lead to any censures from the administrators.

Deja vu

Facebook’s action is reminiscent of a story that happened 130 years ago, said Nikolai Miklouho-Maclay junior, who is the founder of the fund for preservation of the ethno-cultural heritage of Miklouho-Maclay.

In 1886, at an exhibition at the Academy of Sciences, Nicholas Miklouho-Maclay presented a collection he made in Papua New Guinea and a well-dressed lady began to argue with him about the shame that Papuans felt," the descendant of the great scientist told TASS.

"Their outfit is extraordinarily simple, but it's natural, it's serious. Meanwhile, ma'am, look at your outfit! A feather in your hat, gloves on your hands and finally, these buttons on the skirt - all this is aimed at pleasing someone," Miklouho-Maclay said. His words were quoted in a story a Russian newspaper published in 1913 on the 25th anniversary of his death, the descendant of the great anthropologist told TASS.

In 1886, at an exhibition at the Academy of Sciences, Miklouho-Maclay presented the life and culture of the Papuans to wide audience for the first time.

In 2017, his descendant (together with Moscow and St. Petersburg scientists) repeated his expedition landing in the same places to find out how the Papuan culture had changed in almost 150 years.

The photo that was deleted from Facebook was part of an extensive photo collection created during this expedition. The great-grandson of Miklouho-Maclay displayed his findings at the St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum in the autumn of 2017.