Breastfeeding Moms vs. Facebook

12.31.08 Debate rages after social networking site takes down some nursing photos


Recently, we mentioned that Facebook started removing certain images of breastfeeding women from users' profile sites. Well, that news has exploded into a massive online battle, Reuters reports, but Facebook is standing by its decision to yank the photos. Everyone seems to be weighing in—from U.S. newspapers like the San Francisco Chronicle, tech website CNET, fashion-celebrity blog Jezebel to Australian news sites.

The war of words sparked when Facebook deleted nursing photos, citing that the images violate the decency standards established for posting photos on the social networking site.

Over the last week, moms all across the Internet world have come together to protest the "ban," as some people are calling it. On Dec. 27, the Mothers International Lactation Campaign group held an online protest to coincide with a "nurse in" at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif. That same day, women on Facebook were asked to change their profile photos to that of a nursing mother as a sign of unity.

Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt told Reuters that the majority of nursing photos on the site do follow the site's terms of use and are left in place. But Schnitt emphasized that "photos containing a fully exposed breast do violate those terms (on obscene, pornographic or sexually explicit material) and may be removed." A similar statement was given to The New York Times when it reported on the removals. Schnitt also told the NYT that breastfeeding photos were removed in response to users' complaints. He said Facebook wants to ensure the site remains safe and secure for all users, especially children.

The Facebook group Hey Facebook, Breastfeeding Is Not Obscene! started an official online petition for people to join and sign. As of Tuesday afternoon, it had more than 87,000 members. Meanwhile, Facebook officials are not budging.

Fit Pregnancy firmly believes in breastfeeding and all that comes with it. But what about our readers: Do you think breastfeeding photos are obscene or not? Do you agree with Facebook's actions? Take our poll or share your thoughts in a comment below.

Capture the Moment: Send us your breastfeeding photos, or other special moments you share with your baby, and you may win a prize package worth more than $2,750.

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.