Boobies offend Facebook

WHEN the Christmas Island tourism board decided to promote its lovely juvenile Boobies, it never thought it would have Facebook's pervert police on its case.

The proposed promotion might sound a bit dodgy, but it was a plan to advertise the island's annual Bird 'n' Nature Week, and its population of endangered Booby birds.

But the social media site claimed the promoted ad of a baby Brown Booby with the accompanying text - "Some gorgeous shots here of some juvenile boobies" - breached decency guidelines, and removed the offending picture.

An appeal from Christmas Island marketing bosses to Facebook still failed to get the ad passed.

"We presumed our original advert was blocked automatically so we appealed to Facebook directly who re-affirmed the campaign was banned due to the sexual language, particularly the use of the word 'boobies'," said Linda Cash, marketing manager of the Christmas Island Tourism Association.

But it hasn't harmed business too much, with accommodation for the eco-tourist event booked up for months, and the Facebook intervention highlighting the beauty - and plight - of the indigenous Booby bird.

Three species - the Brown Booby, the Red-footed Booby and the Abbott's Booby - live on the island, 580 kilometres south of Java, where the latter is exclusively found.

Alongside some 80,000 nesting seabirds and the island's annual red crab migration - recalled by legendary British conservationist David Attenborough as one of his top 10 most memorable experiences - the abundant wildlife is hoped to attract increasing numbers of eco-tourists.

"This is a pure wildlife haven, with some of the best diving in the world, and we are currently in a competition to be named the eighth natural wonder of the world," Ms Cash said.

If the island's asylum seeker detention centre was to shut, eco-tourism could secure the future livelihoods of the island's 1,350 permanent residents, she said.

A federal government report earlier this year also suggested Christmas Island should get its casino back, having hosted a gambling resort for four years in the mid-1990s.

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