'Overtly sexual' cow photo banned by Facebook

Facebook has now apologised for the mix-up.
Facebook has now apologised for the mix-up. Photo credit: File / Getty

The owner of a small digital photo gallery in the UK is bewildered after Facebook blocked a photo featuring a cow from being used as an ad on the social media platform.

Mike Hall, who runs the Northwall Gallery in Winchester, told the BBC Facebook banned his photo for being "overtly sexual".

He also had other photos banned, such as one of a neon sign with the word 'disco', blocked for promoting alcohol, a fireworks display, banned for promoting weapons, and a picture of a high-rise office building and one of the England cricket team were also deemed to be "overtly sexual".

Hall said the business couldn't advertise on Facebook for two months because of the issue, and everytime he appealed the flagged images he never received a response from the social media company. 

The ads were only reinstated after the BBC contacted Facebook.

"When you're running a small business, or any business where you're trying to figure out what's gone wrong, you can't have an arbitrary process with no-one to talk to," Hall told the BBC.

"When I set up my account with Facebook I had to verify my business with them - but after that it fell into an abyss."

On Thursday Facebook apologised for the mix-up, with a spokesperson telling the Daily Mail the account was "restricted in error and has now been reinstated".