Facebook has always been a little prudish when it comes to breasts. Although Facebook's policy strictly prohibits the sharing of images with nudity, the line regarding what constitutes nudity is oftentimes a bit blurry. Just in personal experience, I've had my account blocked and was reprimanded by Facebook for posting an article that sported a lead image of a scantily clad woman in lingerie, but no "nudity." A friend once had the same thing happen to him for a funny drawing he posted depicting part of the nude female form.
The point is, most people would agree that they don't want Facebook turning into a porn site. There are plenty of young kids on the site - sometimes younger than 13 (even though Facebook policy forbids it). But sometimes the policies that are supposed to be there for protection end up going just a little too far.
According to some activists, this is precisely the case when it comes to breastfeeding photos. Apparently, Facebook is a little overzealous when it comes to removing images of new mothers feeding their babies.
The campaign to get Facebook to ease up a bit is spearheaded by breastfeeding activist Emma Kwasnica. According to her, Facebook has wrongfully removed numerous pictures and blocked her account on multiple occasions for the simple act of posting breastfeeding photos.
Facebook's policies state that "you will not post content that: is hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence." They also clarify that photos will be removed if "they contain nudity, drug use or other obscene content. If the photo attacks another individual or group, it will be removed as well." Currently, Facebook's specific positon of breastfeeding photos is the they are cool as long as they don't show "an exposed breast where the child in not actively engaged in nursing."
The problem then, is that many mothers like Kwasnica feel that Facebook isn't playing by the rules of their own policy and are removing breastfeeding photos too indiscriminately. She says that Facebook has basically told her sorry, they can't keep this kind of thing from happening on a regular basis.
"It is obvious to me now that Facebook really has lost control of their network, especially when their written policy clearly states they support the sharing of breastfeeding images, yet they say they cannot control the actions of their employees who keep removing breastfeeding images and who block accounts of the users who post them – usually 'in error.' This is exasperating to me," said Kwasnica.
Her and other frustrated mothers just want Facebook to leave all breastfeeding photos alone.
There is an official Facebook group that serves as the open petition to Facebook. It's called "Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene. Here, users share their photos and discuss the position that breastfeeding is part of their life, so they want to share it with their friends on Facebook.
One user posed the question "why is there a need to post a pic of someone breastfeeding on Facebook in the first place?" to which hundreds of commenters replied. Many of the mothers feel like it is akin to sharing something beautiful like a picture of a sunset. Others feel that people post pictures of their food all the time, and these are simply images of their baby eating.
On Monday, breastfeeding activists are holding a global "nurse-in" at Facebook offices around the world. Here, women will go and sit outside the offices and breastfeed as a way to protest Facebook's policies. Here's an image posted to the nurse-in Facebook page from a protest in Paris:
In the end, whether or not you believe that people should be posting breastfeeding photos on Facebook is irrelevant. It doesn't matter what kind of "nudity" or "semi-nudity" that it is - we all know that Facebook can be a tad draconian with their regulations. And I'm of the opinion that the atrocious grammar and alternating capital/lowercase typing that has become an accepted part of Facebook communications are much more damaging to the mind of a 14-year-old than a breastfeeding baby on a slightly exposed nipple.