Breastfeeding protest over Facebook policy

Breastfeeding protest over Facebook policy

Summary: Organizers say Facebook is censoring photos of nursing breasts, conflating breastfeeding with pornography. And that association, they say, must stop.


Nursing moms held an in-person "nurse-in" at Facebook's Palo Alto headquarters – and a much larger virtual protest, in which members of the "Hey Facebook! Breastfeeding is not obscene!" group replace their usual pictures with one of themselves (or partners) breastfeeding. The group has 50,000 members.

Facebook has removed profile and gallery photos that show the exposed nipple and areola of nursing moms' breasts (and non-nursing women's, as well) as violating its "obscene, pornographic or sexually explicit" ban, the San Jose Mercury News reports. For today, there is an organizing group: MILC (Mothers International Lactating Campaign), which says:

Not only is human lactation responsible for the very survival of our species, it is in no way a sexually explicit, lewd or despicable act. It is also protected by law in most countries, including specifically the state where Facebook is headquartered in the USA.

In protest to the discriminatory and unjust policy of Facebook administration classifying breastfeeding images as obscene content, on December 27th, 2008 M.I.L.C. is asking all of you to change your profile picture for one day, to one which includes an image of a nursing mom.

Facebook's response, reported by the Post:
We agree that breastfeeding is natural and beautiful and we’re very glad to know that it is so important to some mothers to share this experience with others on Facebook. We take no action on the vast majority of breastfeeding photos because they follow the site’s Terms of Use. Photos containing a fully exposed breast (as defined by showing the nipple or areola) do violate those Terms and may be removed. These policies are designed to ensure Facebook remains a safe, secure and trusted environment for all users, including the many children (over the age of 13) who use the site. The photos we act upon are almost exclusively brought to our attention by other users who complain.

Topic: Social Enterprise

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  • Such a titillating subject...

    Sorry. The adolescent in me couldn't resist. Plus, I expect to see at least three "Damn, beat me to it"s. :-)
    • See, it's wrong to ogle or even look at women,

      and it's right for people to do bodily functions in full view of public. And like it or not, people are going to look. After which women will want to BF in public but behind a special screen. (so what's the bloody point in the first place? Ah, yes, ego. To make a scene for selfishness' sake.)

      "Tolerance" is not the issue, contrary to populist belief. Indeed, if they had a clue, they'd figure out why bodily functions are encouraged to be done in private. I've answered that in a separate response and I'm not going to spam the identical message over and over again.
      • You're addressing the wrong bodily function...

        [i]Indeed, if they had a clue, they'd figure out why bodily functions are encouraged to be done in private.[/i]

        The bodily function that's really the focus is that of a child obtaining nourishment. So, it would seem to me that you're either saying women with babies should just stay home or, like Bozzer asked, should they be sent to a stinky public bathroom when their child is hungry and they're not home? Yeah, no psychological impact there....pairing those smells with the memories of eating. Nice.
        • Common sense says: "Use a breast pump and a bottle." nt

          • ...says someone who's never had to deal with it.

            My wife breastfed our two kids, and using the pump and bottle is a lot harder, and takes a whole lot more time, than straight-up breastfeeding. Part of the problem is that obviously it's a two-step procedure, but more important, a pump just isn't nearly as effective as a baby's mouth. The baby doesn't just suck--the sucking action of the mouth also strokes the breast to help encourage milk flow and stimulate letdown. All a pump does is apply suction, which isn't nearly as effective.
  • RE: Breastfeeding protest over Facebook policy

    Glad that ZDNet is keeping us abreast of this story.
  • Deviant women at their finest

    It has been my experience that there are two types of women.

    One group is what I'd call "normal". During pregnancy they don't see their bodies as anything unusual. They go about their business without a fuss. After pregnancy, they typically breast feed discretely without purposely drawing attention to themselves.

    The second group I'd call deviant. They obsess with their growing bellies, often almost revelling in the way their bodies change to the point where the consequences of pregnancy are sexualized; they are posers for nude portraits that serve no purpose for the future child and seem intended exclusively for the gratification of the mother-to-be.

    You inevitably see these women strapping the newborn to their bellies almost in some perverse attempt at "extending" the experience of carrying an unborn baby; there is undoubtably a correlation between those that strap that baby to the belly, and those that suffer from post-partum depression.

    These are the women who seem to take great pleasure in baring a breast in the middle of a food court in the mall when a light cloth or towel could easily be used to be somewhat more discrete.

    Yes, breastfeeding is normal and natural, but there is a big difference between exposing a portion of a breast to fulfill the need to feed, and being an exhibitionist about it.
    • Dude, you need some help!

      Were you born a complete whack job? Or have you just been practicing intensely over the years? Just like changing the channel on TV, if you can't stand to see a breast, look away. Then, build a bridge and get over yourself. Deviant? Get a grip!
      • Yes, deviant.

        The deviancy is in the militant desire to be exhibitionist about nursing, not the act of nursing itself.

        These are exhibitionist women. The original poster is correct.

        As for turning the channel, I don't buy that garbage argument either. Here's a better idea. If you want to take a look at that sort of stuff, put on your trench coat and go down to the local red light district and bring home the video in a brown paper bag, but don't shove it in MY face and tell me I'm the one with issues.
        • *Ahem*

          Dear Frgough,

          You do realise you are comparing prostitution and lap dance clubs with breastfeeding. I think this says more about your own hang ups.

          What exactly do you mean by "shoving it in your face". What kind of man are you? Are you not able to look the other way or, *shock*, just accept it for what it is; an infant having a nice bite to eat.

          I don't know about you, but I wouldn't like to be forced to eat my lunch in the toilets because some emotionally stunted individual is unable to stop staring at me eating.
        • So you are saying that

          it's okay to censor others, so long as it meets your guidelines but it's not okay for others to tell you to self censor? Sounds like a double standard on your part.

          Only in America, the land of the religious prude, is breast feeding considered "dirty" or pornographic. You and your religious nut jobs really need to leave the rest of us alone. Learn a little tolerance and understand what free will is. ]:)
          Linux User 147560
    • Bullseye

      Taking a dump is natural too. That doesn't mean I want to watch you doing it.

      These are exhibitionist women who need lessons on class, dignity and etiquette.
      • Gym class must have been hell for you two...

        You two, being frgough and his alter ego, croberts. What with all those naked body parts in the locker room, I can only imagine the nightmares and all the years of therapy you must still be going thru. Or, don't tell were the type that didn't shower after gym class?
        • I can't speak for others who think the same way,

          but I was afraid to shower after gym class. And willie size has nothing to do with it - send me your e-mail addy and I'll send notarized pictures of it, in all conditions, if you so desire.

          Go back to high school. Sounds like that's the perfect venue for you. You'll look foolish by the time you reach 25, however... most of us have grown up by now.
          • I'll bite ...

            [i]send me your e-mail addy and I'll send notarized pictures of it, in all conditions, if you so desire. [/i]

            Really? Kewl. My add is (remove spaces)

            need cox now ya hoo com

            I anxiusly await.
        • Don't be absurd, the locker room is private.

          There is difference between exposing yourself in a changing room and exposing yourself in the waiting room at the (for example) DMV (a public government building).

          I personally have no problem with nudity, I served 7 years in the Army, however it is part of American society that certain behaviors are private. To not respect that sense of decency instilled by our society, is rude.

          Irregardless, to purposely violate a TOS that one has agreed to by joining Facebook, is criminal.
      • Lessons...

        I think someone needs a lesson on tolerance.
        • Yes indeed.



          (find some of my other responses. I've tried not to spam, but find those and your questions will be answered.)
      • Agreed 100%.

        Especially the second paragraph, what with "dignity" and all.

        People prefer their buzzwords than underlying civil graces.

        I'd almost want to find out what those militants dislike and do it in front of them and say "your problem, bugger off".

        Common standards were set NOT to keep everybody repressed. They were set for the common good; and it's an irony because everybody claims left-wingers are for socialism and all that, and here they are being the rabid opposite. (Note: Depending on the issue I'm republican or democrat and it's pathetic this extra bit of exposition has to be a requirement.)
  • If performed properly

    A newborn or infant properly position to breastfeed would block any view of the nipple or areola. If Facebook is only removing images that display these body parts, then the mothers complaining aren't having pictures taken during the act of breastfeeding, they're having pictures taken before and after the act.

    I have a son, and when he would cooperate with breastfeeding, my wife would always do so discreetly. She never had any part exposed that wouldn't normally be covered by a reasonable bikini. Those protesting Facebook's policy need to examine their own behavior