Thursday, September 30, 2010

Take Action: Facebook deletes breastfeeding photos

Facebook is one of the leading social networking sites. Currently Facebook has over 500 million active users and approximately fifty percent of those users log in daily. It is far reaching. I admit that I enjoy Facebook tremendously.

This social networking site may be fun and a pleasure to use but they endorse a practice that is highly deserving of admonishment. I have considered deleting my Facebook account several times due to this practice but would prefer a more proactive approach. They delete pictures of women breastfeeding if any areola or nipple is showing in the picture. Additionally they delete entire profile's of women in some circumstances for having these types of pictures.

These pictures are on personal sites. So the only people that are seeing them are people who choose to look at your pictures. Additionally they are on Facebook groups so once again are only seen by people who choose to join a group and look at the pictures. They are not innocently stumbled upon and they are not put in the face of the general population. There is no legitimate reason these pictures should be deleted.

Here is the statement by Facebook on this policy:

"We agree that breastfeeding is natural and beautiful and we’re very glad to know that it is so important to some mothers to share this experience with others on Facebook. We take no action on the vast majority of breastfeeding photos because they follow the site’s Terms of Use. Photos containing a fully exposed breast (as defined by showing the nipple or areola) do violate those Terms and may be removed. These policies are designed to ensure Facebook remains a safe, secure and trusted environment for all users, including the many children (over the age of 13) who use the site."

The idea that exposure of the breast when breastfeeding is somehow unsafe or insecure is really quite disgusting and practically it is unfounded. This is coming from a site who regularly allows pictures of women in bikinis, thongs, and doing all sorts of socially questionable activities. This site also allows pictures of artificial nipples because what else is bottle other than an artificial nipple?

Forget the morality of the issue for a minute though. Public breastfeeding is protected by law in all but two states within the United States. Women have a legal right to have pictures of them nurturing and comforting their child at the breast.

Take Action:

1. Include breastfeeding photos in your Facebook photo albums.

2. Do not put up with people reporting your pictures. Make it clear that if someone reports one of your breastfeeding pictures, no matter who they are, they will no longer be a friend on your Facebook account. The majority of photos deleted have been reported to Facebook by someone with access to those photos.

3. Join this Facebook group which is aimed at letting Facebook know that it's members do not agree with their policy. "Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!"

4. Contact Facebook and let them know that you do not support their policy. The more of us that do this the better. You can do this by sending Mark Zuckerberg a private message directly. If you have other ways of contacting Facebook on this matter please let me know.

5. Make this a point on your own blog or website. Ask your friends to do the same. Let's make a big deal out of this!

If you have additional ways we can make a call to action against Facebook in this regard please leave them in the comments section.

Facebook Statistics Source

Facebook's Policy on Breastfeeding Pictures Source

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