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The Bizarre Story Of What Happened After The Internet Decided This Picture Of A Horse Was Porn

Basically, everyone on the internet is a pervert and bullied a French children's book company.

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A year ago, BuzzFeed France found the origin of the weird French horse picture. It's from a book called L’imagerie du poney et du cheval or Images of Ponies and Horses. It was published by a company called Fleurus and is part of a collection of children’s books.

The book was published in 1998 and it’s sold about 20,000 copies every year. It was even rereleased in France in 2013. AND APPARENTLY, DURING THAT WHOLE TIME, NO ONE EVER WAS LIKE, "YO, IT LOOKS LIKE THAT HORSE IS HAVING SEXUAL RELATIONS WITH THAT MAN."

The publisher, Fleurus, told BuzzFeed that no one had ever even sent a letter about it.

“We publish educational books and make realistic or explanatory illustrations. In that case, our goal was to make the child visually comprehend that the bone structure of the horse and the human being are similar,” they said. “Putting them in the same position makes the likening more understandable and concrete.”

They said they might change the image, however.

“If this picture can be misinterpreted and thus be shocking, we will change it for the next reprint of the book, scheduled for next September,” the spokesperson said.

I decided to translate BuzzFeed France's article about the origins of the horse picture and that's when things got really weird. I published my version and posted it to Facebook.

When you shared the story, not only would Facebook remove the article from your feed, it would make you go through your photos and verify that none of them were pornographic.

In fact, Facebook’s moderators apparently found this horse picture so inappropriate, a member of BuzzFeed’s social media team received a 24-hour Facebook ban for sharing our original story about it.

BuzzFeed reached out to Facebook for comment and never heard back. Eventually, though, it seems like they unflagged the weird horse picture as pornographic. Here's a selfie I took with it.

Instagram: @ryanhatesthis

Flash forward one year later. This is Jules, the BuzzFeed France staff member who originally found the source of the weird horse picture. He had heard that the there was a new 2016 edition of Images of Ponies and Horses.

direction la librairie pour acheter la réédition 2016 de L'Imagerie du Poney et du Cheval

Jules decided to see if Fleurus had really changed the weird horse picture because they found out everyone on the internet thought that, instead of depicting how the bone structure of a horse differs from that of a man, it actually looked like a picture of a man having sex with a horse.

Alright, so, now's the moment of truth. Did the internet really force a French publisher of children's books to have to forever alter their explanation of what a horse skeleton looks like?

le voici. réédition 2016, papier glacé impeccable

Ryan Broderick is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Ryan Broderick at ryan@buzzfeed.com.

Jules Darmanin est journaliste chez BuzzFeed News France et travaille depuis Paris.

Contact Jules Darmanin at Jules.Darmanin@buzzfeed.com.

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