A local writer from the city, Elisa Barbari, chose to put up an image of the iconic statue as the cover of her Facebook page but when she tried to promote it, Facebook denied her permission.
"It presents an image with content that is explicitly sexual and which shows to an excessive degree the body, concentrating unnecessarily on body parts".
But she was asked to remove the photograph as it fell foul of Facebook's privacy policies, the Daily Telegraph reported on Monday.
Facebook has drawn ridicule after censoring a photograph of a statue of Neptune that has been on display in Bologna, Italy, for nearly five centuries but was considered too sexually explicit for the site. The statue itself was created in the 1560s by Flemish sculptor Jean de Boulogne (also known by his nickname Giambologna).The trident Neptune is brandishing was later adopted by Italian vehicle manufacturer Maserati as its symbol.
Facebook told her that "the use of the image was not approved because it violates Facebook's guide lines on advertising". "Really, Neptune? This is insane!", she said. "Maybe Facebook would prefer the statue to be dressed again", she said. "The use of images or video of nude bodies or plunging necklines is not allowed, even if the use is for artistic or educational reasons", Facebook said. She also put up an image which reads "No censorship for Neptune". The social media giant later termed the censorship a mistake, media reports said.
"Our team processes millions of advertising images each week, and in some instances we incorrectly prohibit ads. We apologise for the error and have let the advertiser know we are approving their ad", the spokesperson was quoted as saying. She subsequently posted on her Facebook page a message in large letters: "Yes to Neptune, no to censorship". Earlier in 2016, the company backtracked by reinstating an iconic Vietnam War photo after initially removing it and suspending the user who posted it.