Hey, Facebook, What have you got Against Breastfeeding?
A mass online protest movement is gathering after Facebook banned some breastfeeding photos from their social network site. Many people are upset that Facebook is classifying these photos "obscene," and are encouraging you to join their online group Hey, Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene! As of Tuesday night, the group has over 91,000 members, and it's growing fast.
Angry mothers even picketed the Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California, in a live "nurse-in" to complain about a ban on photos of mothers suckling their children that exposed too much of the mother's breast. Hundreds of women have had their pictures removed without warning and have been informed that they may be barred from using the site.
More than 80,000 people have joined a Facebook petition group "Hey Facebook, Breast-feeding is not Obscene" with hundreds joining every hour. More than 11,000 women from around the world have also taken part in an online "nurse-in" protest on Saturday by posting more breastfeeding pictures. The protest's organisers reported that many have since had these photos removed from the site.
"Photos containing a fully exposed breast - as defined by showing the nipple or areola - do violate those terms on obscene, pornographic or sexually explicit material and may be removed," he said in a statement. "The photos we act upon are almost exclusively brought to our attention by other users who complain."
It is legal to breastfeed in public in most countries in the world, but Facebook's terms of service give it the right to remove content that it deems it to be inappropriate. Campaigners say that breastfeeding is natural and healthy and should be not bracketed with pornography. Facebook's stance demeans and stigmatizes women, they say.
Excerpt from the Facebook online group:
On December 27th, 2008 over 11 000 people participated in our first ever M.I.L.C. (Mothers International Lactation Campaign) event. Participants from around the globe joined our virtual protest of Facebooks discriminatory practice of arbitrarily and randomly removing breastfeeding pictures from member profiles and albums, classifying them as obscene content.
Many members received warnings and had photos removed during and after the event. Some examples of these photos can be found here: