The Lactivist Facebook page is a huge breastfeeding community. It is run by a team of volunteer admins who I really cannot thank enough. These wonderful women give up their time to make sure it’s a safe, supportive place for everyone.
Please come and join us, or just pop in and say hello! You can share your breastfeeding stories and events and get help from other mums if you need it. And you will be the first to see new slogan designs from www.lactivist.co.uk that promote breastfeeding, cloth nappies, co-sleeping, home birth and babywearing.
This week I posted a reminder on the Lactivist Facebook page that looked like this:
“Hi folks, just a reminder to keep pictures of breastfeeding off this page please. Facebook are really funny about it and I just don’t have the energy to fight them if they delete the page. Sorry (Lisa)”
The logic behind this is that if we have a rule that no pictures of breastfeeding can be posted then there is no way anything can be reported and there is no way we lose the page.
After I posted that request there were lots of comments that criticised me, comments like
“That makes me sad. FB is FB. Their rules suck and we all know it. You, however, are called “lactivist” and state quite clearly that your goal is to support breastfeeding. The ‘-ivist’ part of your name is from ‘activist,’ but there’s nothing very active about what you’re saying. How is it supportive of breastfeeding to ban your fans from posting their most precious pictures?” from Zen Parenting.
“maybe you should change the name of the page to “lactation,” since there is no activism in the roll-over-and-play-dead mentality you’ve adopted. un-liked.” from Bianca
“it does seem to be that the lactivist page is about selling products with slogans on, rather than any actual lactivism ” from Sally.
Lactivist does make a little money, a whole £450 last tax year so I am also on tax credits as I’m clearly on a low income. I’m a single parent too so there is no rich hubby to bail me out Rules of tax credits are that you cannot volunteer and get them, you have to be seen to be trying to earn money. Having already been investigated for this I really have to be careful how I allocate my time. I can do a lot of facebook stuff in the name of market research and promotion and I try to do as much supportive stuff as possible as time allows.
I’m planning an ebook, I produce flyers and give them out for free, I donate numerous t shirts to groups as raffle.prizes. I’m having to pick my fights and I really have not got the time or energy to fight facebook who have historically banned people and deleted pages with pictures of breastfeeding.
The Facebook page has helped thousands of people, in order to stay that way I have to keep it workable. Have you ever tried to contact Facebook? Can you imagine the hours needed to reinstate a page? I applaud anyone who has got breastfeeding pictures on their page, and I agree totally that these pictures need to be seen so that breastfeeding in public is ‘normalised’ to the many people who find it offensive. However, this lactivist is fighting battles that can be won in the shorter term, not ones that leech energy.
I’m pissed off about all this, so pissed off that I’ve suspended the page while I think of what to do. I spend literally hours of my own unpaid time reposting requests for help, advertising breastfeeding groups, promoting other peoples products and generally trying to be supportive to those that need support. And it’s not only me, there is a team of volunteer admins all doing the same thing, keeping an eye on posts when people really need help, deleting the occasional hate mail and generally keeping the page running.
I don’t know how long I’ll keep the page offline for, I am considering just having it as a place to promote lactivist products and not as a support group.
There is only so much I, and the rest of the admins who have watched the Lactivist facebook page help thousands in the last few years can give.
On the 22nd February the Guardian published this article- with the headline -”Let’s put Facebook’s ‘no nipples’ rule to test with your breastfeeding photos” and tagline “A society that is not prepared to accept the odd flash of nipple is a society that is not prepared to accept breastfeeding”.
“We received a staggering amount of replies to our appeal for photographs (in hundreds of emails overnight), something which makes our project – posting said pictures to our Comment is free Facebook page – quite difficult to handle: we cannot possibly post hundreds of photographs. Nor was it ever our intention to overwhelm Facebook’s small moderation team – the last thing we want to do is behave like trolls; as Davies says, it’s not difficult to have some sympathy for the gigantic task that is moderating a site with 845 million users.
Instead, we decided to use our Tumblr account to create a gallery (included above) of some of the many wonderful pictures which were sent to us by many mothers from all over the world – from Argentina to the US, France and Sweden. We hope that someone at Facebook will look at our gallery and agree that Facebook is the real loser here: who could possibly be offended by what they see here?
If we hear from Facebook we will let you know – in the meantime, we’d like to thank all the women who participated and sent a snapshot of their lives to us.
• Facebook have responded to the article with the following statement from Sonia Flynn, director of user operations: “Like many Guardian readers, we agree that breastfeeding is natural and we are glad that many mothers choose to share their experiences with others via Facebook.
“The vast majority of breast-feeding pictures posted to Facebook don’t break our rules, which everyone can read by looking at our statement of rights and responsibilities, so they remain on our site. However some photos, like ones that contain a fully exposed breast that do break our rules, so we will remove them if they are reported to us.
“Our rules are based on the same standards that apply to television or print media and they are designed to fit the needs of a diverse 845 million people strong community which includes people as young as 13.
“They try to strike a balance which allows people to share the things that are important to them on Facebook, including their experiences of being a mother, but maintaining certain limitations around the display of nudity, due to the presence of minors on our site.”
But there is one Facebook group that thinks that the Guardian have chickened out – this is what they say on their page:
In response to the hullabaloo about Facebook’s deletion of breastfeeding photos, The Guardian’s Rowan Davies issued this challenge Feb 22: “Let’s put Facebook’s ‘no nipples’ rule to test with your breastfeeding photos,” asserting “A society that is not prepared to accept the odd flash of nipple is a society that is not prepared to accept breastfeeding.” YAY! Hundreds of women sent images in by email. But the next day, The Guardian backed off and instead opted to put the photos up on its Tumblr page. BOO! We think the Guardian is a wee bit scared of the consequences of putting breastfeeding photos up on Facebook. What if the Facebook boobs take down the entire Guardian page – like they have done to The Leaky B@@b, and more? We’re not afraid! Did you email your picture to the Guardian, hoping to see it up on their Facebook page? Send it to us instead, email@example.com, and we’ll put it up here.
Facebook is a very resourceful place for social and business networking. However as most people have heard through the media lately, Facebook has removed profile pictures of breastfeeding.
While there are many opinions about repeated removals and no attempt by Facebook to accept the breastfeeding photos, I thought WHY?!? Why is it a big deal? Why would Facebook remove nursing photographs (most of which barley show any breast)?
The researched and factual answer is:
A Facebook Shareholder is the owner of an Infant Formula Company!
Billionaire Li Ka-Shang who is a Facebook Shareholder of 0.75% (an estimated $165 million value) owns Hutchison China MediTech Ltd.
This may not appear to be a substantial amount, however when you review the shareholder list for Facebook it is a substantial influence.
Hutchison China MediTech Ltd announced on May 26, 2011 that it will enter the Chinese infant-formula milk powder market through cooperation with Hain Celestial Group Inc, a leading US natural and organic products company.
“By launching Earth’s Best and Zhi Ling Tong co-branded organic infant formula in China, the companies are targeting the country’s premium market” … China “sees 15 million newborn infants every year, thus the market potential of baby milk powder is huge”.
“In the next five years, the company will strive to gain 2 percent market share, which equals some $123 million.”
A fast mention that Interpublic Group which is another Facebook Shareholder of less than 0.5% (an estimated $110 million value) is the parent company of Draftfcb, and Lowe + Partners.
Draftfcb client list includes Nestle and Pfizer. Both companies are known for infant formula. Lowe + Partners also list Nestle as a client.
You might ask what this has to do with breastfeeding photos on Facebook. That is a simple answer; however, you tell me why Facebook’s shareholders who invest in an infant formula company would want to stop the promotion of breastfeeding?
There are many debates and disagreements within our society of how to raise a child. But there is no synthetic substitute that can compare to true Organic Milk from a mother.
Society should be changed for the better, to a culture that promotes Formula Free babies and supports breastfeeding. What society seems to forget is that breastfeeding is normal! The more you see something, the more normal it becomes and the less people will relate a bottle to a baby before a breast.
It seems that Facebook while free to its users comes with a price. Social networking is controlled by those who can afford to control it. One thing the formula companies will never be able to market and never understand is the bond that breastfeeding creates. We do not breastfeed to save money (that is just a bonus), we breastfeed because it’s the best thing for our babies, ourselves, and our environment!
Breastfeeding moms make a difference! Keep up the great work and if you want to pass on the research we’ve done, feel free to Share on Facebook, Tweet it or pin it! We can all make a difference and you already have!
World wide protests to call on Facebook to leave breastfeeding photos alone.
Breastfeeding Protest planned at facebook Headquarters in London.
- Daily image deletions and account suspensions continue
- Facebook has removed 257,000 supporters from the official petition group
- Protests planned at Facebook offices around the globe
In response to Facebook’s continued removal of breastfeeding images from the social networking site, women in the UK are planning to visit Facebook’s London office to deliver their messages in person. The breastfeeding protest will be held at 42 Earlham St, Covent Garden at 10.30am on the 6th of February.
Global Event Coordinator and local mum Lynsey Bartram says “We need to stand up to this discrimination, and show Facebook why SEEING breastfeeding is important”.
Like many other Facebook users, Cambridge Mum Ellie Cook had a breastfeeding photo removed by Facebook, and others have had their accounts deactivated. She said “I woke up on the fifth day after my baby was born to find a message claiming my photograph of me feeding my newborn was a “violation”. A blank silhouette sat in it’s place and it represented how I felt. It was like being kicked in the stomach. What should have been a perfect time was comprimised by being made to feel dirty and obscene.”
Yesterday Facebook filed its long-anticipated IPO valuing the company at about $100B. Facebook’s advertising revenues last year topped $3B. Facebook offers advertisers the ability to carefully target audiences. The so-called “influential mum” demographic is highly sought after.
British women of the influential mum demographic are planning to flex their muscles by attending this breastfeeding protest and are telling their friends and family on Facebook that they want Facebook to stop harassing breastfeeding mothers.
More than fifty women are expected to attend the event, to tell the company’s office, “We want Facebook to simply leave breastfeeding images alone.”
London Event Page – http://www.facebook.com/events/329431500425148/?ref=ts
Worldwide protest event notice:
http://www.jodinesworld.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/media-event-notice-world-wide-protests.html or http://bit.ly/Ah7VGW
Facebook Protest details:
http://www.facebook.com/notes/fb-stop-harassing-emma-kwasnica-over-her-breastfeeding-pics/locations-for-facebook-nurse-in/324817760874621 or http://on.fb.me/nurseins
Link to official petition site:
http://www.facebook.com/groups/2517126532/ or http://on.fb.me/HFBBFINO
Link to blog post with daily updates since Emma’s account went down Jan 8th. It includes recent images that have been deleted, screen snapshots showing the membership numbers in the official petition site before Facebook removed members, and more: http://www.jodinesworld.blogspot.com/2012/01/fb-harasses-women-for-breastfeeding.html or bit.ly/Jan30fbbf
In the middle of a wet and miserable January I asked Lactivists on the Facebook Page to send in cheering stories – this is what we got, a load of lovely tales that made me laugh out loud:
When my daughter was about 3 months old my sister and I had a coffee in Debenhams. I’d just fed my daughter and She was asleep on me, all content and happy. We were chatting away when I said “oh, it’s a little chilly in here” my sister in response nearly spat out has coffee because she’d noticed I hadn’t put myself away and I’d been like that for at least 10 minutes. We were both really laughing about it for ages after.
We had a tub of ice cream at the weekend and it had clearly been poured in both sides in a circular movement and the lid had excess icecream on it that resembled 2 breasts, my DH showed it to my DD 3yo and she pointed to one said ‘i want that side’
I was sat feeding my 10wk old waiting for my flight to australia to take off. We were sitting on a row of 3 seats. A male passenger was trying to locate a seat with more space n as I had more leg room he asked if anyone else was sitting with me. I said no. He then asked if he could sit down n as he was saying this he looked down n said forget it n walked away from us very quickly. Think the sight of me feeding my lo scared him half to death.
Friends came for dinner, I was feeding my very curious 10 w old at the,table, when my son came off for a look around and to join in the discussion, just,as my very strong let down happened, a shower of breast milk over the table and in my friend and her daughters dinner, they forgave me but havnt been for dinner since, puts the time my dinner guest stepped in my toddlers wee un bare feet in perspective.
my soon to be 3yr old thinks baby sister gets milk from my elbow! Quite often he’ll suck my elbow saying milk. He sees his 9 month old sister feed several times a day but still thinks elbow is where its happening!
When I bf my little one it gets his system ermmm goin shall we say…he pumps like a grown man!…not little cute bottom burps I mean full blown well errr farts!!!…had a few strange judgemental looks off people hahaaa should get a T-shirt sayin “it was the baby,honest” if he wasn’t mine I wouldn’t believe a baby could make that noise,he’s like a little jet engine teeheee
Over Christmas I was breastfeeding my (then) 11 month old and her cousins (aged 3&6) were fascinated, being adopted they couldn’t be breastfed and so have little experience of it. They spent most of our feeds over Christmas being about 2 inches from my boob looking at what was going on. Eventually the 3 year old pipes up “Jay, why is there milk coming out of your tummy” I couldnt help but be slightly offended, I didn’t think my boobs were so saggy it looked like I was feeding Naomi from my tummy!
the latest funny thing happening was my clever nearly five year old who is trying to (be) wean(ed): she knows me well, well enough to know how lazy I am she told me she feels like having a sip of milk and asked me to get her a bottle or at least a glas of warm milk, totally aware that I was going to say something like “I don’t want to get up now/at the moment”. before I could really say something she added “or let me drink from your breast, you’ve got milk anyway!”
My LO was 5 weeks old and had just started smiling. One morning she was feeding and pulled off to smile at me. I was quick enough to get a photo of her lovely little face and promptly texted it to my mum. I was about to put it on Facebook when I spotted something in the bottom corner which stopped me. However, barely 5 minutes later, my sister had been sent it by my mum and posted it on Facebook herself. There for all her friends to see was my beautiful smiling daughter, and my right nipple! I had to get her to remove it, and she hadn’t noticed.
My little one was about 8 months old and I had left her with her grandma with expressed milk, while going to a car show with my partner on the way how I was so full up I had to use my pump to express in the car while partner was driving in the fast lane. After expressing myself enough to relieve myself. I asked my partner to move over to the slow lane so I could thrown it out he said no don’t worry and grabbed hold of it and throw it out. We were driving in front of my partners best friend(future best man) and I looked in the mirror to see him put his windscreen wipes on. We later stopped at a restaurant and as soon as he got out he said ‘that was breast milk wasn’t it’…well it look him weeks to get his windscreen and bonnet free of breastmilk as so fatty acted like an oil. In his speech on our weeding day he choice to tell all he guests that story too!!! X
We use the word “nook” for breastfeeding because when my son first started speaking that’s what he said for milk. This seemed like a great idea until one day he piped up in public “I love nookie!”
I was feeding at a toddler group one day when a small girl came up to me and asked, “Why is he eating your belly?
One of my 3 yr old twins recently has started saying…”mama, I need some boob cause I am so sleepy! So give me some boob, but I won’t go to sleep. I’m just sleepy cause I need some boob”.
When my youngest was born he latched on pretty quickly and camped out there for a while then when he was about 18 hrs old he was taken to the nicu for breathing troubles and not allowed to nurse. Grrrr!!! Once his umbilical lines were removed on day 4 he was allowed to be held. So I sat in the rocking chair and the nurse laid him on my chest. He wiggled down to my boob and started rooting about and latched on as soon as I took my breast out. The nurse was surprised and impressed that he was such a good nurser after not getting to for several days. When he was done he propped his chin on his crossed arms on my chest and i started to rub his hair. He instantly cracked a smile and all of his stats went to normal and stayed that way until placed back in his bed. He’s 13 mo now and a champ at the boob.
My 2.5yr old has a habit of calling my boobs milk1 and milk2 when I’m feeding my 9mth old and likes to say he gets his milk from my belly. I really really hope they’re not that saggy xxxx
I was feeding my 8 week old in the park in the summer and i noticed my 3 year old was up to no good so i popped baby over my shoulder and walked over to the other side of the park to see him, it wasn’t until i got back over to my mummy friends that someone pointed out that id forgotten to put my boob away
When the tiny person was about 4months old I was just getting used to nursing in public. We’d ventured into the city, him snug against my chest in him wrap. He woke as I was waiting for the bus home so I whipped out my boob and he happily started sucking away. It was a moment of pride that I’d done it so subtly that nobody had noticed (timid new mum and all that!) So we got on the bus and a business man sits next to me, still not noticing. Half way through our journey he strikes up a conversation saying how sweet baby is, still not noticing! Seconds afterwards little one pulls off my boob, my milk squirted full force in 5 directions hitting the man in the face and on his nice black suit lol As if to confirm my tiny baby did the loudest burp and the whole bus stared at us. I just burst into laughter at all the horrified and shocked faces. I still laugh about it today and have never been nervous about public nursing since x
Me and my partner were visiting friends who have a 2 year old girl who was very keen to show me her very first big girl bed but i was sitting feeding my then 8 week old and told her she would have to wait till i finished but she replied with “It ok she dink from daddy milk” so i asked her where the milk would come out and she replied with “from his moobies silly” oh dear she really didn’t understand when all the adults started laughing poor thing
At a family weekend away with the outlaws, my 2.5 year old son was fascinated with his new baby cousin having mummy milky. In front of the family (which included my 72 year old father-out-law) my son sat as good as good next to his Aunt, lifted up his own t-shirt and proceeded to ‘breastfeed’ his bunny complete with realistic ‘smacking’ noises! Nobody said he shouldn’t, or couldn’t, and it was seen as a natural extension of child’s play. My partner said later he was proud his son was so loving. ) x
This is my funny thing which also shows how descreet bfing is! I was at hospital to see my uncle and popped outside his room to feed in the waiting area there were a few other people sitting and I started feeding while talking to a couple, a family came out, my daughter was around 2mnths old but had a full head of jet black hair (always commented on!) And a older woman went oh my look at all that hair on such a little baby and came closer to look there was a young guy with they maybe early 20′s who came over to look hadn’t noticed I was feeding looked down got a shock and went OH Oh errr turned too fast and walked right into a wall! I nearly wet myself! X
yesterday my little boy, 20 months, was stood in front of me whilst I was getting ready for bed. He started tapping my breasts and trying to latch, so I latched him on whilst he stood in front of me whilst he carried on playing ‘bongos’ on my boobs lol. It was quite funny.
While feeding my 3rd daughter in a coffee shop my 2 year old shouted ‘mummy put your boobies away now’ needless to say everybody looked I was so embarrassed
Breastfeeding Yummy Mummies is a group on Facebook where Mums can come together to share, shout, congratulate, cry and seek help and reassurance in the company of women who’ve all been there before. What started out as a small group of like minded women is now fast approaching 300 wise minds. Come along and join us https://www.facebook.com/groups/BFYummyMummy/
Lactivist are giving away two £5 gift vouchers, one to the 350 th person to join the group and the other to the member of the group that invites them.
You can spend the £5 on anything you like from the range of pro breastfeeding, cloth nappy and co sleeping slogans on t-shirts, hats and bags including sale items.
To enter just pop along to Facebook and join the group!
Often when this happens, people are blocked from accessing their Facebook accounts for periods of time – 24 hours, 3 days. Sometimes Facebook disables or deletes their accounts. Although US and UK news media recently reported Facebook has made an about-face and apologized for removing breastfeeding photos, the harassment, bullying and intimidation continues.
This has gone on for years. Even though over 200,000 people signed an official petition to Facebook calling for them to stop. Even though in 2008 mothers protested outside Facebook’s headquarters, they continue to remove photos of breastfeeding women.
We want Facebook to:
- leave people who post breastfeeding photos alone
- change their policy to stop including breastfeeding photos with their policies prohibiting pornographic or sexually explicit material or nudity
What can you do?
1) Join the Facebook Page – your “like” on the page is like signing a petition to Facebook
Check the “Info” section of the FB Page for further action items.
2) Nurse-ins are planned at Facebook’s headquarters, and at Facebook offices around the world. Plan to attend.
3) Show your support on the Nurse-In Day by changing your status picture on Facebook.
4) Continue to share pictures of breastfeeding as part of normal, day-to-day life on Facebook and elsewhere in the way you always have, with whatever levels of privacy you wish.
Post about this issue using your own social media channels. Post on Facebook. Tweet. Blog. Talk about it! Help people understand that women are advised to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of their child’s life and then through the second year of life, and beyond for as long as both wish.*
The winner was clearly the Analytical Armadillo with 187 votes but I’ve decided to acknowledge everyone who was voted for as each page or group does a wonderful job.So, if your group or favorite is on this list please feel free to share the special lactivists love image! They are 500 pixels square so will open up bigger if you right click on them.
On the first of every month loads of people are changing their profile picture to one that supports breastfeeding – it can be a picture of a breastfeeding child, a breastfeeding slogan, the Breastfeeding Flashing Mob picture, one of your own or if you are stuck for ideas there are loads on Lactivist.net for youto use as long as you don’t use them for commercial purposes.
This is how the Flashing mob works -
On the first of every month change your profile picture to one that supports breastfeeding.
The idea is to get as many people as possible to change their profile pictures to one that supports breastfeeding. You don’t have to be breastfeeding to do it, dads and formula feeders can also show support.
Facebook traditionally delete pictures of ‘obscene’ breastfeeders but they can’t kill us all!
Please invite your friends either by adding them or copying the link to the group and sending them that.
When you are added to the group you will be bombarded with emails (this is a Facebook thing). To edit your e-mail notifications to prevent inbox overload:
Thousands of people, breastfeeders and non-breastfeeders, men and women have changed their profile picture in support of breastfeeding and posted this as their status:
Facebook removes breastfeeding photographs because they feel they are obscene and offensive. I have changed my profile picture in protest of this! If you support breastfeeding please change your profile picture and repost this as your status!
There are some ideas for profile pictures here and more here
These double sided full colour flyers were created using ideas from mums on the Lactivist Facebook page.
They are 15cm x 30cm.
If you want some to give away at breastfeeding groups or events please just email me – firstname.lastname@example.org letting me know how many you would like – it would be very helpful if you could
something towards postage – 500 of them cost over £7 to post but I can get quite a few into an envelope and send it second class as a large letter for 58p. If you really can’t afford to chip in for postage that is fine but it would make a big difference if you can as I am personally subsidising them otherwise and I won’t go into the rant about being a single parent on a low income who doesn’t have enough time to earn any money because she is too busy volunteering to run Lactivist right now, it bores me.
BoobBaby now has 100 ‘Likes’ on Facebook! To celebrate we are giving away a Lactivist bag and 10% off your first order. To enter please visit our Facebook Page. All entries must be received by midnight tomorrow, Monday 18 October. View our page here!
We also have some great Special Offers running at the moment:
Avent Single Electric Breast Pump, Was: £79.99 Now £74.99
Lactivist T-Shirts, Were £11.99 Now £9.99
Lansinoh Lanolin Cream, Was £8.49 Now £7.49
Offers are for a limited time only and whilst stocks last.
Although Facebook has a bad reputation for being breastfeeding friendly, (repeatedly deleting peoples accounts for showing pictures of breastfeeding which are classed as obscene) there are lots of breastfeeding friendly pages and groups on there.
Here are some of my favorites, if you have any others please feel free to add to the list. They are in no particular order, just as they came up They are generally pretty active and they are on my like list of groups and pages.
A collection of photos & art prints showing nursing mothers (many in public situations) to educate & inform people about the normalcy of breastfeeding in public. All photos & prints are publicly available through various libraries & repositories.
Breastfeeding Community provides support through awareness. The website has a database of breastfeeding support groups covering the whole of the UK, and yes, that does include Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales too! The infomation on the groups can be accessed via an interactive map.
I have produced ‘Just Call Me Daisy: Breastfeeding Mothers Stories’ whch will be published in September 2009.
This book is a collection of true breastfeeding stories and poems which tol give encouragement to other mums during breastfeeding. Each short story/poem will help motivate whilst provide comfort, laughter and a thoroughly enjoyable read.
You can pre-order a copy now: http://www.countrybookshop.co.uk/books/index.phtml?whatfor=9781907219030
I want to try to dispell some of the myths of breastfeeding which still exist in the popular press today. We’ve heard about the benefits, but a variety of myths persist & some women even believe the myth that b’feeding will make their boobs droopy!
A Breastfeeding pub where we laugh, cry, share and provide information and support for breastfeeding moms everywhere. With a varied group of contributors, product reviews, anecdotes and hard facts we hope to show the world just how awesome breastfeeding can be.
“Facebook routinely deletes from its site photos of breastfeeding. It has labelled them obscene and pornographic. It says that it has rules for what is allowed on its site, but its careless actions show it does not.
Facebook’s clueless manner of censoring is not just pointless but harmful. There are other ways to deal with unwanted material than by immature, arrogant, and foolish removal of what one doesn’t like, especially when photos of breastfeeding are claimed to harm children—a claim Facebook has made for years.
Here we present the first page of photos banned from the social utility Facebook, as well as a few that haven’t been. With several hundred million users, Facebook still removes from its pages photographs of women breastfeeding, despite complaints about that practice beginning as long ago as June 2007.
Facebook claimed that breastfeeding photos violated its terms of service if they showed “an entire breast.” Eventually it dropped the vagueness and the euphemism and claimed that all photos with a visible nipple or areola were “obscene,” “pornographic,” or “sexually explicit.” This claim by Facebook is at odds with legislation, case law, and actual practice throughout the USA. In addition, breastfeeding itself is allowed in public, exposed breasts or not, in almost all states in the country. By its attitude and action, Facebook is wrong. It demeans and stigmatizes women and breastfeeding.
In May 2009, the same Facebook spokesperson responsible for the above claims said that Facebook removes only a small number of photos of naked women breastfeeding. That would be funny if it weren’t so ignorant. Facebook also claims that images of breasts harm children. That’s absurd. Facebook wrongly uses children as an excuse for its immaturity and errors.
Facebook is undoubtedly a great utility, both useful and fun. Its worldwide acceptance on the Internet confers upon it a responsibility to do better.
The protest against Facebook’s removal of many breastfeeding photos isn’t really about legality. It’s not even about rights. It’s about what is right.
No. of photos in this collection: 170. Of those, 154 have been banned, some more than once. The others are here for comparison. (Many, many more have been banned than we have collected.) Comments from the photos’ owners are often illuminating.
Lactivist group faces termination from Facebook after embarrassing the social networking site in high profile media awareness campaign last year. The group of almost 250,000 members faces threats of removal after a media blitz that chastised the social networking site for its draconian policies toward breastfeeding mothers.
The campaign, which garnered national and international attention in over 25 languages from various media outlets around the world, was featured on CNN, CBS News and the Dr. Phil show among others. Members believe the current threat is directly related to the embarrassment caused to Facebook’s bosses.
Administrators of the group, “Hey Facebook, Breastfeeding is Not Obscene! (Official petition to Facebook)” were told by the social networking site that the group was in violation of copyright infringement policies. When pressed for details by the group’s admin, Facebook responded by changing the accusation to say the group was posting nudity or sexually explicit material and sending harassing messages to members. “We have no idea what they’re talking about and they won’t explain the charges,” said Gillian Joseph, an admin of the group, living in Edinburgh, Scotland. “We checked our pages but can’t see any copyright infringements, and we’ve certainly sent no harassing messages. Now they’re saying it’s because we’re uploading obscene photos.”
Ms. Joseph says she believes the harassment is due to the social networking site being embarrassed that such a large number of people are against their policies of branding breastfeeding photos as “sexually explicit content”. The support and advocacy group, which boasts over 247,000 members from all over the world, wishes to normalize the sight of breastfeeding mothers and children. It currently contains over 4,500 discussion threads on parenting topics, and over 5,700 photos – though some of these have already been removed by Facebook.
“To shut the group down would not only end valuable support, but give a message to the world that breastfeeding babies are somehow obscene. It’s just absurd,” said Debra Balcaen, a Winnipeg resident and administrator of the group. “It is unfortunate and hypocritical that Facebook’s administration has targeted this breastfeeding advocacy group for alleged violations when at the same time they happily endorse sexually explicit material from third party applications and paid advertisements.”