Breastfeeding Photos Deleted by Facebook!

by Earth Mama on April 20, 2011

in Earth Mama HQ,My Soapbox

Breastfeeding Photo A

One of these things is not like the other.

Last night, Facebook sent Earth Mama’s Facebook page a WARNING that a picture in our photo strip had been removed because it apparently “violated the Terms of Use (see above). Facebook does not allow photos that “attack an individual or group, or that contain nudity, drug use, violence, or other violations of the Terms of Use. These policies are designed to ensure Facebook remains a safe, secure and trusted environment for all users, including the many children who use the site.”

In order to access the Earth Mama Facebook page, we had to acknowledge that we read and understood the warning.

And here’s what we found when we got there. One, but not both, of the breastfeeding pictures on the photo strip had been deleted. Gone. Kaput. Huh? Why that one? This can’t be right, right? There were two breastfeeding photos in the photo strip, so that can’t be the reason it was removed. And Facebook has publicly stated it is not “cracking down” on breastfeeding photos.

Breastfeeding Photo B

Still, they deleted Photo A and left Photo B. We tried to figure out the difference between the two. Here’s what we came up with.

  • Both women are clearly breastfeeding their babies.
  • One shows cleavage, the other does not.
  • One woman’s baby is latched, the other is not.
  • The tiniest bit of nipple is visible on one photo, in the other photo the nipple is covered by the baby’s hand.
  • Oh wait! Could it be? One woman is black, one woman is white.

Earth Mama always has supported women breastfeeding their babies. Babies get hungry. And breasts feed babies. We don’t consider either photo obscene. Each shows a human baby having lunch. We intend to repost the picture on Facebook once we get an explanation from them. We support ALL mamas as they breastfeed their babies, and we support breastfeeding photos depicting mamas and babies of all races, sizes, shapes and ages.

Why do you think this happened?


UPDATE: With all the ridiculousness about deleting breastfeeding photos from Facebook, I personally contacted Facebook [twice] to find out why they took down Earth Mama’s photos. I received one automated response. We are still working on getting them to clarify their policy and to make a distinction between breastfeeding and obscenity. Thank you for your amazing support! XO, Mama

>> Please help us tell Facebook that breastfeeding is not obscene!  Submit a suggestion directly to Facebook HERE.

P.S. Mama’s NOT happy. She doesn’t consider herself a militant. Or a lactavist.  But now she’s mad. Brace yourself.  >> Read more.

{ 132 comments… read them below or add one }

Sksfederico April 21, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Actually that IS a black baby. She/he is just lightskinned. :(

P M April 21, 2011 at 9:34 pm

I don’t think this has anything to do with trying to take a monthers choice to breastfeed away, I don’t think it has anything to do with race either O think it is about the nudity. Why do we have to work it up, deconstruct and make it bigger then it is? Someone saw the picture, was offended by the nudity and reported it. FB did what it always does in this case and deleted it. They don’t make exceptions there is a rule about nudity in photos thats all it is. EWhy do we have to make a mountin out of a molehill here?

Maureen Clark April 21, 2011 at 9:40 pm

It is illegal for Facebook to take down/denounce breastfeeding photos in the states where breastfeeding is excluded under public nudity laws. Check your facts people!

Maureen Clark April 21, 2011 at 9:41 pm

it’s people like you who are making breastfeeding in public difficult for people like me.

Renee Horsman April 21, 2011 at 9:55 pm

I don’t think it has anything to do with race. Facebook isn’t going around looking through entire folders. They respond to complaints, or see individual photos that come through feeds. My best guess is that they got a complaint on that photo and removed it. Doesn’t make it right or fair, but I truly doubt that race played any kind of determining factor in their decision.

Lea April 21, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Two new pics on FB just for you EM:

In support of Earth Mama Angel…and who says #breastfeeding in 1971 wasn’t normal Can you say COLOSTRUM!

In suport of Earth Mama Angel Baby Who says #breastfeeding isn’t normal?

Zahra Muhammed April 22, 2011 at 12:04 am

So sad in a day and age where its acceptable to have racy half naked photos of people all over facebook but a breastfeeding photo triggers cause for concern, defiantly a double standard in this supposed new found “breast is best” world – yet the majority of people are still freaked out about it.

Social engineering April 22, 2011 at 12:20 am

This issue was discussed at length when a homosexual group event and a (2 men kissing) photo was removed.

These items are not targeted by Facebook. Someone that has access to see the photos has clicked “report”. Everything after that is automated.

Do you have a completely benign photo of a puppy in the group photo album? Have someone click “report” and see what happens – the same thing as the breastfeeding shot.

Campaign Facebook to stop automated removals.
Campaign facebook to hold “report” clickers accountable for abusing the reporting function.
But Facebook is not targeting any group. People have found a loophole or “hack” (since that word gets misused 12 ways to Tuesday) to have content removed that they dont agree with.

Guest April 22, 2011 at 3:08 am

Breastfeeding is no more private than me eating ice cream is. When my son nurses, he’s eating. Sure we bond, but at his age now it’s more about eating (he’s 12 months) than it is about anything else. He likes to eat quick so he doesn’t miss anything. I love taking photos on him nursing, I take photos of everything else from playing to bathing. I share my photos proudly as well. I wish more women would share photos and nurse in public so it wouldn’t be such a big deal and people would get use to it.

M Bazan April 22, 2011 at 4:04 am

Breastfeeding is not nudity. If you are nude in public you can get arrested. If you breastfeed you can’t.

M Bazan April 22, 2011 at 4:08 am

Do you eat your big mac in public!? :O Shame on you!

Come on!!

Joanne April 22, 2011 at 6:50 am

I think the true reason Men see breasts as sexual objects in the first place is a primal inner-knowledge that they will support their offspring! The covers of magazines in the shop (at children’s eye level no less) are far worse than seeing a baby have something to drink. Breastfeeding does NOT count as nudity!

Proudpapa2010 April 22, 2011 at 7:20 am

You stupid housewives need to get a hobby. One that doesn’t include telling people how they should act, think or feel. Better yet, instead of spending hours online finding things to complain about, spend some quality time with your kids.

Jennifer Buske April 22, 2011 at 12:58 pm

If the law can protect us breast feeding in public, then they should protect us on this matter. It’s a mother’s right and a birthright to all babies.

Lderbez April 22, 2011 at 4:34 pm

“Why is facebook objecting to breastfeeding photos, breastfeeding support pages and breast cancer support pages, but not Playboy and other pages that show explicit photos without a breastfeeding baby in it? Is is really about decency or just making sure that breasts are portrayed as sexual and not a food source?” I think money is involved of course: Playboy pays $, NursingFormula Companies are interested in that breastfeeding doesnt become popular and of course the also pay $. But its good that people coment about it so all this comes out to the public.

McMama April 22, 2011 at 5:27 pm

It is if you’re, um, nude. The woman in the top photo obviously is, or at least topless. You can breastfeed in public, but you can’t be topless, as a woman (which is a whole other topic).

McMama April 22, 2011 at 5:27 pm

It is if you’re, um, nude. The woman in the top photo obviously is, or at least topless. You can breastfeed in public, but you can’t be topless, as a woman (which is a whole other topic).

Jenny April 22, 2011 at 5:33 pm

There are all kinds of pics with babies formula feeding. Should those be taken down too? Eating is eating.

Aislynn April 22, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Nudity = graphic. There is no more exposure in those photos than in the album of a sorority girl on spring break.

Jenny April 22, 2011 at 5:35 pm

I’m sorry, but I think in this instance, your friend may be wrong. Unfortunately, even cops are ignorant of breastfeeding laws sometimes.

Jenny April 22, 2011 at 5:37 pm

You couldn’t be more wrong. Have you been on Facebook? There is actual porn on Facebook.

BFMomma April 22, 2011 at 5:39 pm

This is really sad. Really really sad. But I can certainly relate. For some reason, breastfeeding photos are still unacceptable to several in our society. And even more puzzling and disturbing, breastfeeding picture of AA women are even less acceptable so it seems. Just really sad. Perhaps with time and exposure to images such as this, society will come to see breastfeeding as a norm for ALL women because it is just that – perfectly normal!

Abattyref April 22, 2011 at 5:39 pm

I have seen lots and lots of pages and articles about Facebook deleting beautiful breastfeeding photos. I adore the photos and really wish I had taken some with my son. While I don’t condone the removal of the images, I don’t believe it has anything to do with how Facebook feels about breastfeeding. They have protocols in place to alert them of photos containing any of the items listed in their Terms of Use. All it takes is for a certain number of users to flag the photos as obscene and the photos are taken down. They are a huge company with a massive amount of photos. It’s just not probable that every single photo that is flagged is first reviewed by a person before it is taken down. It is most likely automated.

What really needs to change is the general public’s feelings about breastfeeding. If we could get everyone to consider it as beautiful as we see it, then I believe less breastfeeding photos would be flagged as obscene or nudity.

Boardbuddie April 22, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Dan, a while a large group of people tried to get a very offensive pic of a nude penis deleted. It is still there. And that has happened before. While it is clearly against their policy. Double standard, much?

Kendra Hunsaker April 22, 2011 at 5:52 pm

They deleted many of my breastfeeding pictures and most of my tasteful pro maternity photos. They are so lame when it comes to this. It shows what the world has come to. Teenagers are allowed to parade around in clothes that barely cover their sexual areas yet mothers are shunned if they show the most natural thing in the world.

janet April 22, 2011 at 5:56 pm

If removals are automated, why did the penis pic I referred to above not get deleted? (= genuine question)

Kelley Krohnert April 22, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Technically, their policy is that they only consider breastfeeding photos nudity if there is nippy showing, so photo B should have been the only one that they could delete under their own guidelines. But in reality, they seem to delete any photos that people complain about, so I assume someone complained about photo A, so that’s the one that they saw and deleted. If someone complains about photo B, it will likely be deleted also.

Facebook has been a real ass about breastfeeding photos, deleting photos, users, and pages without warning like crazy in the past.

Momof6 April 22, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Honestly I do see a difference and it has nothing to do with skin color. In photo A both breasts are visible and the baby is clearly only using one. That means the second byways is just nudity and that violates the TOS. I breastfeed….but I don’t think it’s appropriate to show nudity, even if there is a baby involved.

Donovan April 22, 2011 at 6:44 pm

It’s not really Facebook that finds and deletes them, it’s the very friends you are connected to that anonymously flag them as inappropriate. If enough of them flag the same picture, then Facebook will automatically delete it. No human actually working for Facebook sits there and evaluates pictures unless you are appealing directly to their support department after the fact.

Something similar happened to me regarding flagged postings last year: I had posted news links about police abusing protestors at the G20 summit and someone on my friends list flagged them down because they didn’t agree with my political viewpoints.

puppy and person mama April 22, 2011 at 6:50 pm

I REALLY think you are stretching with the “because she’s black” come on! dont turn this into a racist thing it simply diminishes your cause and hurts your credibility.

Reikirays April 22, 2011 at 7:24 pm

It is 2011 and I breastfed my baby daughter for 54 weeks, I am very proud I did this and I am sure a high percentage of woman on facebook have breastfed their children, it is not obscene, the photos are a mother keeping her child alive, it is no way offensive or in a sexual way, some pictures of females on fb are wearing less, interesting why those pics arent deleted. I have a strong opinion on this as women have been breastfeeding since time began, thats why breasts fill up with milk when our baby is coming! Its human nature. earth mama angel baby is a wonderful site and encourages women to help their babies have the very best start in life, I am disappointed that facebook is really living in the dark ages.

Kelley Krohnert April 22, 2011 at 7:45 pm

I know people at Facebook and the removals are not automated. Flagged photos are brought to a human’s attention to review, and clearly a lot of the reviewers are more than happy to delete certain photos, even if they don’t violate the TOS. Facebook says that breastfeeding photos are only in violation if nipple is showing, but plenty of photos are removed that don’t show any nipple at all. And other more sexual photos of nudity are left untouched, even after repeated reports, because the reviewers don’t mind seeing _those_ pictures. It sucks, and I don’t think it’s targeted, but it’s also not automated.

Kelley Krohnert April 22, 2011 at 7:48 pm

It isn’t automated. I know of people at Facebook whose job is to review any pictures, pots, etc. that get reported as a violation of the TOS. They are told to only remove reported breastfeeding photos that show nipple, but obviously some of them are more than happy to remove any breastfeeding photo.

Jessi April 22, 2011 at 8:36 pm

I personally don’t want to see either of those photos. I have two BF pictures on my FB that have never gotten deleted, simply because I don’t show that much skin. *shrug*

Ethologicmom April 22, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Okay I am getting pissed too! I sent a suggestion to FB. I’m getting sick of it but I guess if we have to keep doing it, well then, I’m in!

Meka Blizzard Robnja April 22, 2011 at 8:56 pm

They both look topless to me.

Georgette Blackford April 22, 2011 at 9:13 pm

This happened to me today and I am livid. The picture was of me breastfeeding my child on my wedding day. How dare someone suggest that breastfeeding my child openly is a pornographic act.

Meka Blizzard Robnja April 22, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Really? I think that only came to your mind. PS- Im sure the baby is black.

Lisa April 22, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Those pictures are beautiful! Not something that should be hid. I would be comfortable with my children seeing these pictures because it’s a natural beautiful thing.

HRoss April 22, 2011 at 9:33 pm

WOW, what a gorgeous picture!!

TT April 22, 2011 at 9:40 pm

….and this is why I am deleting my facebook account.

Black Anne April 22, 2011 at 9:50 pm

My initial thought even before I read the whole article but read that photo A was deleted and not B was that there WAS a racial issue. Because out of the 2, I would have thought B would get flagged otherwise. There was a bit of nipple area showing in B, and the the baby’s hand in photo A is providing “tasteful discretion” for the easily offended. The angel wings also make it seem like more of an art-style photo than just a breastfeeding snapshot.

Either the person who reviewed it for FB has racist leanings, even if unconscious–or, FB is actually just responding to viewer’s flags without consideration. In which case, the viewers flagging this over the other have racial issues. I’m sorry–but it’s just the elephant in the middle of room here, and I going to point it out.

Shish_dish April 22, 2011 at 9:51 pm

It just aint right. i’de probably be less mad/irritated if they were both deleted for showing part of a breast.(Ie still be mad/irritated regardless) But its fairly clear that its because of race. How awfull!!

Nikkidee1980 April 22, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Agree with Donovan….it issomeone manually reporting that individual phot and fb do not even check they just delete as it has been flagged……

Emily VanEssen April 22, 2011 at 10:16 pm

i love the pictureyou posted

Autumn_bowles April 22, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Well how come all of these tattoo pages have half naked women on them. Or how about the people that have THEMSELVES just about naked as a profile picture.?

Cara April 22, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Saw this post via cheeseslave. Inspired me to finally do those canvas prints for our bedroom of me nursing my then 1yo. I tend to be a little more clothed on FB, but I think nursing pictures are beautiful :)

Sunny April 22, 2011 at 11:04 pm

It is not automated. There are a handful of administrators who manually delete photos after seeing them after they receive notice of reports re:offensive/abusive nature. This has been explained to Facebook users by Facebook numerous times.

Sunny April 22, 2011 at 11:04 pm

It is not automated. There are a handful of administrators who manually delete photos after seeing them after they receive notice of reports re:offensive/abusive nature. This has been explained to Facebook users by Facebook numerous times.

Sunny April 22, 2011 at 11:06 pm

You may change your mind. I would urge you to consider it once your child is here. Even if just for yourself.

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