Facebook issues statement on breastfeeding photos

6 Feb 2012

International Breastfeeding Symbol

In light of the Facebook protests that took place around the globe today, Facebook has just reiterated its Statement of Rights and Responsibilities around photos that depict breastfeeding mums. Facebook says it agrees that breastfeeding is “natural” and that the majority of such photos posted on the site are “compliant”, but said it will remove “some photos” that “contain a fully exposed breast”.

Today, breastfeeding groups around the globe, from Sydney, Australia, to Austin, Texas, New York, Chicago and London, came together to stage protests outside local Facebook offices, as a result of the social networking site’s decision to remove certain photos that depict mums nursing their babies.

And Dublin was no different. Around 40 protesters, including women, men and children, converged at Facebook’s Dublin offices at the corner of Hanover Quay and Benson Street, today. Friends of Breastfeeding organised the Irish breastfeeding contingent.

Facebook has been known to remove photos and even temporarily suspend certain users’ accounts that depict the breast during breastfeeding, as part of its Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

Here’s the statement in full from Facebook, issued this evening: “We agree that breastfeeding is natural and we are very glad to know that it is important for mothers, including the many mothers who work at Facebook, to share their experience with others on the site. The vast majority of breastfeeding photos are compliant with our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and Facebook takes no action on such content. However, some photos which contain a fully exposed breast do violate our terms and may be removed if they are reported to us.  These policies are based on the same standards that apply to television and print media.”

Presence of ‘minors’ on Facebook and ‘nudity’

Added Facebook: “The presence of minors on Facebook makes it necessary to impose certain limitations on the display of nudity, even though that is not always convenient or acceptable to all audiences. Our policies have to fit the needs of a diverse community, but aspire to respect people’s rights to share content which is important to them, including their experiences as a mother. It is important to note that photos upon which we act are almost exclusively brought to our attention by other users who complain about them being shared on Facebook.”

Judge for yourself …

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic