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Breastfeeding campaigners to protest at Facebook HQ in Dublin

Demonstrations will take place at Facebook offices in several cities across the world next week by protesters who are angry about Facebook deleting images of breastfeeding.

File photo
File photo
Image: Yui Mok/PA Archive/Press Association Images

FACEBOOK OFFICES IN Dublin and several other cities are to be the focus of protests next week by groups speaking out against the removal of breastfeeding photographs from the social networking site.

Group oranisers say that protests will be held across the world on 6 February over Facebook’s removal 0f photographs of breastfeeding from the site – as well as the suspension of some accounts where such images are posted.

The argument between Facebook and breastfeeding advocates has been ongoing for several years. A petition page was created in 2007 named “Hey Facebook! Breastfeeding is not obscene” by users who were frustrated when their photographs were deleted by moderators who deemed them to be in violation of the website’s terms of use.

Facebook policy guidelines state that a user’s images can be deleted if they “contain nudity, drug use or other obscene content”.

In a statement yesterday, Canadian mother and breastfeeding activist Emma Kwasnica said that she was frustrated after her account was – once again – suspended over the posting of a breastfeeding image. Kwasnica said that after speaking with staff about the matter, she felt that Facebook had “lost control” of its network:

It is obvious to me now that Facebook really has lost control of their network, especially when their written policy clearly states they support the sharing of breastfeeding images, yet they say they cannot control the actions of their employees who keep removing breastfeeding images and who block accounts of the users who post them – usually ‘in error’. This is exasperating to me.

Citing reports that the company was planning to file for entry to the stock markets in the coming months – which, according to estimates, would make the site worth between $75 billion and $100 billion – Kwasnica said that the some of the so-called ‘influential mom demographic’ was planning to “flex their muscles by telling their friends and family on Facebook, and by telling the world at protests around the globe, they want Facebook to stop harassing breastfeeding mothers”.

In response to the planned protest, a spokesperson for Facebook told TheJournal.ie: “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”.

She continued:

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.

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Facebook said that the policies were based on the same standards as television and print media, and pointed out that the presence of minors on the site made it necessary to impose certain limitations on the display of nudity “even though that is not always convenient or acceptable to all audiences.”

The spokesperson added that the photos removed were almost exclusively brought to moderators’ attention by other users who complained about them.

Read: Report: Facebook to file for entry to stock markets next week>

Read: London Olympics committee considers ‘baby ticket’ option>

Read: Sarkozy: Breast-feeding is like slavery>

Read: Michelle Obama calls for removal of breastfeeding barriers at work>

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