Facebook Breastfeeding Controversy

Facebook reserves the right to take down any picture on a user’s site that it deems offensive. And it regularly excercises that right, usually in response to a complaint by a user’s facebook friend.

Of course, what one person considers art another may consider offensive, a point driven home by Facebook’s response to photos of mothers breastfeeding their babies. For years, the social media site has been pulling pictures down from individual users pages who have posted pictures of themselves breastfeeding. In some cases, it has suspended or revoked the users’ accounts.

Facebook has a no nudity policy, but its offical policy on breastfeeding pictures says they can be shown as long as the baby is clearly latched onto the breast.
But Facebook sometimes pulls photos that are compliant with that policy down while leaving others up, and then reverses itself, putting photos back up, and then taking them down again. Its policy is confused and confusing at best.

Facebook says its policy on breastfeeding photos is consistent with those of news organizations, but photos Facebook has taken down run on or in traditional news outlets without complaint.

The always wonderful Ann Douglas wrote about the issue in this recent Toronto Star story. And yes, that is me quoted in the article sounding a smidge more intelligent than I actually am.

In the meantime, all Facebook users should know that they have control over what they see of another person’s posts. If there is someone in your newstream that you consider to be an over-sharer, you can lessen how much you see from them by hovering over their name in any one of their posts until a little chevron looking icon appears in the upper right. Then chose which option you want.

Prior to posting your own stories into the feed, you can also ensure some people don’t see content that isn’t appropriate for them. Only unfriend someone as a last resort. It always gets noticed and leads to bad feelings. Before you report someone, take a minute too to think if it really has crossed a more generally held standard.



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