Facebook Continues To Yank Breastfeeding Photos

Gives fairly lengthy statement on the whole controversy

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Facebook Continues To Yank Breastfeeding Photos
[ Social Media]

Another day, another set of breastfeeding images removed from Facebook.

This time, the affected group of breastfeeding activists hail from the Respect The Breast Facebook page. The page’s founder, Heather Stultz, told the Huffington Post that in the last few month, 38 breastfeeding photos have been removed from the group’s photo section – 4 in the last week.

A landing page message explains:

If you support PUBLIC breastfeeding and Support mothers who do so, Please Like our page!! We are in Support of breastfeeding mommies everywhere!! feel free to post questions, comments, photos, and links to any good information for new Breastfeeding Mommies!

It goes on to give this warning: “If you think its inappropriate to see a mother feeding her child you also do not belong here because we support it and post pictures daily.” And while the page still have hundreds of breastfeeding photos still up, it’s the 38 removed photos that really frustrate the page owners.

“I’ve got 7,100 fans and they are pretty irate about it,” Stultz said. “We won’t stop until we have a handwritten apology from Mark Zuckerberg.”

She has also begun an online petition to address the issue.

The issue revolves around Facebook’s specific policy toward nudity, especially nudity when it comes to breastfeeding. Facebook says that they are cool with breastfeeding pics, but only in certain conditions where no extra nudity is present (for instance, an exposed breast not being used for breastfeeding). Facebook has made this clear, but until now haven’t really said this much in a response to a particular breastfeeding group’s protests:

Facebook is glad that mothers and their families — including many who work at Facebook — use Facebook to share their parenting experiences, including breastfeeding their children. By uploading photos, joining groups, and engaging with different organizations, these families are able to share and connect on a very important topic, and we are thrilled they are using Facebook to do so.

When it comes to uploaded photos on Facebook, the vast majority of breastfeeding photos comply with our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, which closely mirrors the policy that governs broadcast television, and which places limitations on nudity due to the presence of minors on our site. On some occasions, breastfeeding photos contain nudity — for example an exposed breast that is not being used for feeding — and therefore violate our terms. When such photos are reported to us and are found to violate our policies, the person who posted the photo is contacted, and the photos are removed.

Our policies strive to fit the needs of a diverse community while respecting everyone’s interest in sharing content that is important to them, including experiences related to breastfeeding. It is important to note that any breastfeeding photos that are removed — whether inappropriately or in accordance with our policies — are only done so after being brought to our attention by other Facebook users who report them as violations and subsequently reviewed by Facebook.

Last week, we told you about a content standards manual used by independent content moderators employed by Facebook. It provided a confusing look into Facebook’s content policies, and specifically mentioned breastfeeding photos. Here, they clarify that not only is extra nudity not allowed, but neither is the photo if the “nipple is clearly exposed.”

If the breastfeeding activists being angered by content removal story sounds familiar, it’s because this definitely isn’t the first time something like this has happend (this month). Earlier, one activist organized “nurse-ins” at various Facebook offices around the world to protest the policy. She complained that Facebook was being indiscriminate in the removal of pics and that theyweren’t even playing by their own rules.

I’ve been pretty vocal in my criticism of Facebook’s nudity policies in the past. On this specific issue of breastfeeding, I suggested that they need to lighten up a bit. Those who disagreed argued that Facebook must keep a strict no nudity policy in order to curtail pornography, or other images that could be unsuitable for the young teens on the site. I’ll pose the question to you guys – is it possible for Facebook to lighten up their guidelines on certain types of nudity (breastfeeding, artsy painted bodies, etc.) while still keeping it free of pornography? Let us know what you think.

[Note: The lead image is not one of the removed ones, but it does reside on the Respect The Breast page]

Facebook Continues To Yank Breastfeeding Photos
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  • Malcolm boura

    FB “strive”? You must be joking. If they were serious about doing what is right they would follow the evidence, not the prejudices endemic in some parts of the world. The objective evidence is very, very clear. Nudity does not cause harm to anyone off any age. Prudery results in widespread and often serious harm. The correlations are near perfect, the causal links well understood, the results appalling, but still Facebook continues to put body-prejudice and body-shame ahead of doing what is right. I will give one specific example but the pattern is the same for all the boy-knowledge, body-shame and body-image related indicators, including breast feeding. More prudish, worse outcomes, and often worse by an enormous amount. Compared to Denmark a teenager in the USA is several times more likely to have an abortion, about ten times more likely to become pregnant and several tens of time more likely to catch a sexually transmitted infection. Are you proud of yourselves Facebook, or is it profit and prejudice before all else?

  • Lea

    I am a breastfeeding mom and I’m so happy people still care. I think its so import
    ant to show the whole world how much we love are children. I feel we are being shamed and told to hide such a beautiful and natural thing.

  • Janet Ruderman

    The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled in 1996 that it is not indecent for a woman to bare her breasts in public. Therefore, it does not offend Facebook’s rule against nudity for a woman to post a picture of herself topless, anymore than a man posting a picture of himself topless would. I encourage all women to post a picture of themselves topless and to keep posting it until Facebook gets tired of deleting it. It’s time Facebook stood up to the bigots of the world and pointed out to them that they are 15 years behind the times.

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