The world of breastfeeding has been negatively affected by the actions of none other than Facebook. Facebook has been deleting breastfeeding photos with the justification that they are “obscene” or “sexually explicit.” Oh, sure, the pictures must first get reported by an individual Facebook user, but after a process which involves “skin-detecting” technology, the pictures actually get reviewed by a human being, a Facebook employee. It is this person who makes the final judgment call of whether or not to delete the photo, suspend the offending user’s account and/or delete the account altogether. Since the deletions continue, it makes Facebook the responsible party, complicit in the bullying of breastfeeding moms.
Even though there is a recent buzz surrounding Facebook’s actions, this behavior on behalf of Facebook has been reportedly going on for years. A Facebook page created by Kelli Roman and other fed-up breastfeeding mothers that used to have over 250,000 supporters was recently archived by Facebook, most of its members lost in the ether, despite being an active group. The page was called “Hey Facebook, Breastfeeding is not obscene!” In 2008, another woman named Heather Farley helped to organize the first Facebook nurse-in in response to deletions of breastfeeding pictures on her account.
Now, another nurse-in at Facebook headquarters all over the world has been scheduled for February 6, 2012. Emma Kwasnica, one of the most vocal and influential lactivists in the world and creator of the worldwide milksharing network HM4HB, has been a victim of Facebook’s bullying tactics several times, having had her account suspended on numerous occasions. After having worldwide media coverage for her suspensions, Facebook has apologized for the deletions and has said repeatedly that they were “in error.” However, Facebook continues to delete breastfeeding pictures and suspend/delete other users’ accounts, which she and her supporters actively protest against. There is a page on Facebook to support her and her efforts in getting Facebook’s behavior rectified called “FB! Stop Harassing Emma Kwasnica over her breastfeeding pics.“ Despite its name, the end goal is to get Facebook to stop harassing ALL breastfeeding women, not just Kwasnica.
Curiously, the vast majority of these deletions run contrary to Facebook’s OWN policy, which states: “Does Facebook allow photos of mothers breastfeeding?
Yes. We agree that breastfeeding is natural and beautiful, and we’re very glad to know that it is important for mothers to share their experiences with others on Facebook. The vast majority of these photos are compliant with our policies, and we will not take action on them.”
It’s becoming clearer and clearer, given Facebook’s history with breastfeeding photos, that either they are lying, or the employees are not all on the same page regarding what is acceptable on their own network. This would be understandable over the course of maybe a few months, but YEARS?
If you live in California, please support the nurse-in there at Facebook Headquarters:
Menlo Park, CA (formerly listed as ‘Palo Alto’)
1601 Willow Road, Menlo Park, CA
Tremendous thanks to Jodine Chase, another victim of Facebook’s bullying tactics and event organizer/media coordinator for the protests against Facebook, who has kept meticulous track of the situation on her blog, Jodine’s World. Thank you, Jodine!