AUSTIN -- Outside Facebook’s offices in Austin Monday, it was an unusual site. About a half-dozen mothers could be seen discretely breastfeeding their children. They complained that the company has been taking breastfeeding photos off of personal pages.
“I felt like they thought it was obscene and that it was a wrong thing to do,” mother Emily Rodriguez said. “I didn’t like that.”
Facebook maintains it must “impose certain limitations on nudity in the presence of minors.”
More than 800 million people worldwide use the social networking giant, and a number of them are teens.
The mothers on Monday argued that their pictures should be exempt from nudity rules.
“Breasts can be sexual, but they’re also functional, and breastfeeding is just that; it’s feeding a baby,” Kristine Keller said
Yet others see it differently.
On The KVUE Insider page on Facebook, hundreds of viewers weighed in, and some defended Facebook.
“It is a private bonding act between mother and child,” one viewer wrote.
“Facebook has the right to do whatever it wants,” another viewer posted.
Late Monday afternoon, Facebook released a statement.
It read, in part, that “the vast majority of breastfeeding photos are compliant with our statement of rights and responsibilities and Facebook takes no action on such content.”
It went on to read that “some photos which contain a fully exposed breast do violate our terms and may be removed if they are reported to us.”
The statement may not have been the exact outcome that the mothers had been hoping for, however, it did provide some clarity over what Facebook will continue to tolerate, and what it won’t.
Here is one of the breastfeeding photos removed by Facebook.
Photo courtesy of Emily Rodriguez.
Read the statement from Facebook in its entirety below:
"Facebook is glad that mothers and their families – including many who work at Facebook – use our site to share their parenting experiences, including breastfeeding their children. By uploading photos, joining groups, and engaging with different organizations, these families are able to share and connect on a very important topic, and we are thrilled they are using Facebook to do so.
When it comes to uploaded photos on Facebook, the vast majority of breastfeeding photos comply with our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, which closely mirrors the policy that governs broadcast television, and which places limitations on nudity due to the presence of minors on our site. On some occasions, breastfeeding photos contain nudity – for example an exposed breast that is not being used for feeding – and therefore violate our terms. When such photos are reported to us and are found to violate our policies, the person who posted the photo is contacted, and the photos are removed. Our policies strive to fit the needs of a diverse community while respecting everyone’s interest in sharing content that is important to them, including experiences related to breastfeeding.
It is important to note that any breastfeeding photos that are removed – whether inappropriately or inaccordance with our policies – are only done so after being brought to our attention by other Facebook users who report them as violations and subsequently reviewed by Facebook.
Facebook receives hundreds of thousands of reports every week, and as you might expect, occasionally we make a mistake and remove a piece of content we shouldn't. When this happens, we work quickly to address it by apologizing to the people affected and making any necessary changes to our processes to ensure the same type of mistakes do not continue to be made. We encourage people to re-upload the photos they believe were removed in error."