Posted: Aug 29, 2013 8:00 AM
Facebook has certain policies in place to protect the members of its community, but some feel that the company is overstepping its reach in what it deems offensive, reportable and removable. We talk with parents whose photos have been removed — even ones that fall under “acceptable” according to Facebook's policy.

You log into Facebook one day only to be confronted by a message that a photo you posted has been removed for violating the website's policies, and even worse, your account has been suspended for a day or three — or even 30. Despite these moms' good intentions, they were slapped with deletions and suspensions, and not all of them have been legit.

Facebook vs. breastfeeding

Breastfeeding on Facebook has been a major issue for a long time. The company has a long and inglorious history of deleting any and all breastfeeding photos, but with major media attention over the last couple of years, there have been small victories for some of the moms who post these touching photos. The problem is, even with these improvements, those who have been fighting the system for years say that nothing has really changed.

Facebook's official policy reads: "Photos that show a fully exposed breast where the child is not actively engaged in nursing do violate the Facebook Terms. These policies are based on the same standards which apply to television and print media."

Photos that show a fully exposed breast where the child is not actively engaged in nursing do violate the Facebook Terms. These policies are based on the same standards which apply to television and print media.

The problem, for many, is that when a photo is flagged, it's usually done by a user, and Facebook often deletes the photo whether it is allowed according to the policy or not. For example, Shelly's account suffered repercussions for this photo, which shows no more than what you might see in a female wearing a bikini. "I had a breastfeeding picture flagged and removed and I was locked out of my account for a day," she told us.

FB banned breastfeeding photo- Shelly
Photo credit: Shelly

Jodine Chase, breastfeeding advocate and administrator for several Facebook breastfeeding support groups, got involved when her account was banned after sharing a nursing photo of a friend and fellow breastfeeding advocate. "Since then, I've heard of hundreds of breastfeeding image deletions," she explained. "Facebook has even started banning breastfeeding ads. We know women are reluctant to breastfeed in public for fear of being harassed, and we know this is a cause of early weaning. I think Facebook's actions are harming babies and mothers because they send a message that there is something wrong with breastfeeding images."

Other family photos

Other moms reported that their baby's naked butt photo was removed, or, like Lisa, had a maternity photo reported and removed. "Ridiculous," she told us. The photos, which are taken and shared with love, are deemed unsuitable, most often, by someone on the user's friends list, which can make it even more hurtful. When your photo is deleted, you have no clue who reported it, and it can bode ill will for someone you thought was your friend — or even worse, a family member.

FB banned photo- Lisa, pregnancy

Pages like Birth Without Fear are also under scrutiny, and their admins take great care to not share photos that could be construed as violating Facebook policy, but it's a delicate dance to decide what to share and what not to share. Even beautiful, innocent photos of a family enjoying a bath together after a baby's birth have been removed, which begs the question — why are there so many blatantly pornographic photos allowed on the site which remain up?

To get involved, check out FB vs. Breastfeeding and join the fight against discrimination toward breastfeeding moms and their babies. Breastfeeding photos help normalize nursing moms, and it's hoped that Facebook will follow its own policies sooner rather than later. And if you get a baby bum shot reported, hopefully you can find out who was on the other end so you can go ahead and unfriend them!

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