Facebook found itself in the middle of another “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation involving content posted to the social network, this time over a photo of a young girl’s bare backside that was posted to the Coppertone page to mimic the classic 1953 ad from the sunscreen company of a young girl’s bathing suit being pulled down by a small dog.
The #FreeTheNipple campaign was apparently a success, as The Huffington Post U.K. reported that Facebook has quietly stepped back from its ban on photos of women breast-feeding in which their nipples are revealed.
The no-win situation that Facebook often finds itself in when it comes to censorship of content on the social network reared its ugly head again this week with the controversy over whether videos depicting beheading should be allowed or deleted.
Facebook can’t win for losing today: When the social network isn’t getting ripped for pictures it hasn’t deleted, it’s catching heat for photos it has deleted — specifically, those involving breast-feeding.
A Staten Island, New York photography studio saw its Facebook page erupt into a debate on breastfeeding in public, with 367 posts forcing the company to move the thread to another page.
It appears as though the Facebook’s breast feeding controversy won’t go away. Today a statement was released by “The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine”, an organization that I wasn’t aware of until today. According to a press release from this afternoon, Facebook’s current policy “perpetuates the notion that breastfeeding is an unseemly bodily function best kept from public viewing, a misguided and antiquated concept that has no place in contemporary society. It further perpetuates the idea that formula feeding is normative when breastfeeding is, and should be considered, normative infant and young child feeding.”
Earlier this week we posted about Facebook’s ban on breast feeding. The debate has gained a lot of coverage in the media. So much that the CBS early morning show recorded the following segment on the topic. Included in the clip is a section where a group of women have joined together outside of Facebook’s Palo Alto offices, protesting about the breastfeeding policy. They have even put together a short jingle about the issue.
So which party has gone to far in this debate? According to Facebook, not all breastfeeding photos are banned, only those that have fully exposed breasts. Some of the women on the site continue to protest as they wish to have freedom of expression. Jeff Jarvis and the author of “Mama Knows Breast” were called into the early morning show to comment on the issue. You can watch the video below.
Why do we care if a mother wants to show photos of herself breastfeeding on Facebook? Isn’t Facebook private enough that a user should be able to show pretty much any photo they want? Facebook doesn’t think so. After Heather Farley was told to remove a photo of her breast-feeding, she sent an email to Facebook requesting an explanation.
When Facebook didn’t respond to Farley’s email, she posted another photo and was threatened by Facebook to have her account deleted. This is when things got ugly – for Facebook, at least. Once Farley went public with her complaint against Facebook, stating that she felt bullied. So she protested. And the protest has grown to new heights in the past week, even gaining momentum with a Facebook group, according Mercury News. So what’s Facebook’s issue with breast-feeding anyway?