Clean Breast Bid – Facebook Lambasted As Insensitive

Facebook has apologised after it banned images of a British woman’s mastectomy scars, published on the social networking site to raise awareness of breast cancer.

The company initially rejected the images of Sharon Adams, 45, as “sexual and abusive” but, after a major outcry among users, it reversed the decision, saying it had made a “mistake” in removing the photos.

A Facebook group set up in protest, “Get Sharon Adams Picture Back on Facebook for Breast Cancer”, attracted more than 2000 members.

“I put these pictures out on Facebook to put a message out to women – check your breasts regularly and do not ever be ashamed of a mastectomy,” Adams told the Daily Mail.

“For Facebook to claim they were sexual and abusive was absurd. Facebook has online groups about sexual positions and some groups which are bordering on racist – but they ban this.”

A Facebook spokeswoman said: “Our user operations team reviews thousands of reported photos a day and may occasionally remove something that doesn’t actually violate our policies. This is what happened here. We apologise for the mistake.”

The incident is the latest in a long-running battle between women and Facebook over when and where users are allowed to publish photographs of breasts.

The women, who call themselves “lactivists”, believe Facebook’s practice of removing what it terms “obscene” images of breastfeeding mums is discriminatory.

Facebook’s hardline stance on what its members can publish on their profiles is somewhat hypocritical given that it was caught running an image of a topless model in a banner ad for a dating service.

Facebook has also failed to remove several racist groups from the site and advertisements promoting get-rich-quick scams.

The lactivist mothers, many from Australia, started a petition in the form of a Facebook group called “Hey, Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!”

The group now has more than 230,000 members.

Facebook says it does not prevent mothers from uploading photos of themselves breastfeeding their babies but it will remove photos containing an “exposed breast”.

It is not clear what constitutes an “exposed breast” but a general rule adopted by users of the site is that the image is allowed if there are no nipples showing.

However, while Adams’s mastectomy image did show confronting scars, it did not contain any nipples.

Source: SMH AU

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14 years ago

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