Breastfeeding protest over Facebook policy

Organizers say Facebook is censoring photos of nursing breasts, conflating breastfeeding with pornography. And that association, they say, must stop.
Written by Richard Koman, Contributor

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.

Editorial standards