It’s Time for Facebook to Prove It’s Not Anti-Women

The Leaky B@@b Facebook page was reinstated again this afternoon, January 5, 2011.  This time cautious celebrations were expressed on the page along with fear that it would just go back down.  As I write this it has been up for 7 hours, just about as long as it was up yesterday.  Hopefully it will really stay this time.

Our celebration is tempered a bit though, we’re missing a few of our members.  Several “Leakies” as we affectionately call those on the Facebook page, had their accounts disabled after receiving warnings for supposed obscene photos.  Just like TLB, they received the non-specific form letter via email informing them that they were deleted for violating the TOS. These individuals along with numerous other group and business pages have had their accounts deactivated all because someone decided that their breastfeeding photo or information was vulgar.

Judy P. Masucci, Ph.D, president and owner of A Mother’s Boutique shares how Facebook deactivating her account last summer impacted her.  Now she tip-toes around her pages on Facebook afraid to say or post anything that may attract unwanted attention.  What is she doing that is so obscene?  Sharing information and photos that support breastfeeding and mothering.  No lewd photos, no hateful content and certainly nothing as revealing as what you can find on the Playboy Facebook page.  (I can’t bring myself to link to the Playboy page but if you’re really curious do a Facebook search, you’ll see what I mean.)

As excited as we are to have The Leaky B@@b back, the problem remains and any page, individual, or photo is at risk of being deleted when related to breast health.  Facebook has a responsibility to it’s customers to clearly communicate that they are pro-women by creating a new way to moderate materials flagged as obscene.  No doubt the company is overwhelmed with reports of obscenity but surely they are smart enough to develop a system that would allow them to remove the truly obscene materials while those related to breast health including breastfeeding and breast cancer are able to remain.  Additionally they need to have a provision for an exempt status for all groups, pages, and companies related to breast health.  If they don’t, well entrepreneurs, there’s a market here for you to create a new social media site that can do just that.  Facebook, your customers are unhappy and many of us are waiting to see what you decide to do now before we take our business elsewhere.  I appreciate your efforts to keep pornographic images off Facebook, I really do but please, breastfeeding is not pornographic.  Reinstating The Leaky B@@b indicates that you are aware there is a significant problem with your current mode of operation.  The first media coverage I could find on this problem dates back to 2007.  You would think Facebook would get tired of this and make some necessary changes.  Four years is long enough, fix it.

Have you had your account deactivated and you suspect it is for breastfeeding photos?  If you or someone you know of, individual or group, has had their account or page deactivated please leave the information in the comments here.  If there is a page started to bring them back (as was Bring Back The Leaky Boob- again.) please share the link to that as well.  I am compiling a list to take to Facebook not only to ask for those pages and individuals to be reinstated but to show how flawed their current system is.  If The Leaky B@@b could be deleted twice within a matter of days something is obviously not working.

Nobody should have to tip-toe around their pages afraid that educating and supporting breastfeeding or breast health could have them deleted.  Help us continue to hold Facebook accountable to it’s customers.

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Comments

  1. My name is Lori Whitlock and I am officially a deletee. I wrote the following letter and submitted it to several media outlets this afternoon. I encouraged other leakies to do the same and several of them used my letter as well. I had NO breastfeeding pics among my personal pictures and only two pictures as fan pictures on TLB. I uploaded them solely in support of the cause as I am normally the girl who always nurses under a cover. Lo and behold, those two pictures got my 5 year old facebook account deleted. My husband and I aren’t going to start a group to get me reinstated. Hopefully you taking my name to facebook will be enough.

    Here’s the letter from this afternoon:

    Facebook is at it again, this time incensing a group of over 8,000 breastfeeding supporters. They deleted the Facebook page “The Leaky B@@b” which spawned the Facebook page “Bring back The Leaky B@@b.” Bring back TLB garnered those 8,000 supporters in less than 3 days and Facebook reinstated TLB on 1/4/11. Unfortunately that same day they again deleted “The Leaky B@@b as well” as “Bring back The Leaky B@@b.” More info can be found in the first link below (a press release from the owner of The Leaky B@@b.)

    We want “The Leaky B@@b” brought back! This is a site to support breastfeeding mothers. Women who are doing the most unselfish thing they can to ensure their child receives the best possible nutrition. Women who quickly learn that breastfeeding is HARD. The site that we turn to for help has been removed, returned, and removed again. And worse, a site that had gained over 8,000 supporters for The Leaky B@@b (Bring back The Leaky B@@b) was also removed.

    We want Facebook to give us our resource back and revise their TOS to assure us, and all other facebookers, that sites pertaining to breast health and wellness will stop being removed erroneously.

    Related Links:
    http://theleakyboob.com/2011/01/press-release/
    http://theleakyboob.com/2011/01/one-step-forward-two-steps-back/
    http://www.facebook.com/TLBSupport
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Join-TLB-in-Support-of-Womens-Health/123265017739597
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bring-Back-the-Leaky-Boob-again/140902059300453
    http://www.facebook.com/askdrsears/posts/190512460964165?notif_t=share_comment
    http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/parenting/facebook-deletes-then-reinstates-then-deletes-breastfeeding-support-group-2436797/

    My email address is [email protected] if anyone wants to contact me.

  2. MammaMason says:

    My little sister had her page removed and had to create a new one. She was 16 at the time and she is mildly mentaly challenged. ( that is the only way the Drs put it to us… Sorry if any one finds it offensive ) so any way the only thing she does on there is looks at pics and plays games. We still don’t know why they deleted her 🙁

  3. hollymstewart says:

    My Facebook account was deleted on December 8th 2010, for what I assume to be a breastfeeding photo. No warning, just the “a picture has been deleted blah blah blah.”

    I am a co-admin for the new Eats On Feets organization, Tennessee chapter. My deletion has caused me to be removed from there, as well as my business page for placenta encapsulation.

    My account was Holly Marie Stewart (www.facebook.com/holly.m.stewart) Email: [email protected].

    A group was started to get me back… It needs more members. 🙁

    http://www.facebook.com/#!/home.php?sk=group_138037516252020

    I check every day in hopes that it will be back, my business page will be back, and all my photos of my precious child will be back where I left them a month ago. Going through Christmas without being able to connect with family was sad. 🙁

  4. Gwynhyvar says:
  5. theboobdiaries says:

    My wifes facebook page was disabled completely after posting 2 photos in an attempt to raise awareness for breastfeeding and to support “The Leaky B@@b”. Her name is Kari Bundy and you can find info about it in this group dedicated to getting her back on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_189750877707209#!/home.php?sk=group_189750877707209&ap=1

    We appreciate the support!
    Bryce and Kari Bundy

  6. blueyedmel says:

    I had my account temporarily disabled because I shared on my own page several pages and images on pages that were (extremely) pornographic that I had found already existing on facebook. The facebook staff at first told me it was because I wasn’t using my real name, then later told me it was because of the offensive material I was sharing (nevermind that it already exists on facebooks servers). I was told that several offensive posts were deleted off of my wall and asked to remove any other offensive posts. Also, as the photographer who created the image appearing on TLB’s page of the nursling with the wrapped mama in the woods, I’m afraid to post that beautiful image on my business page due to this fb nonsense. There are other sites that have looser policies and content filters (such as deviantArt) that require the uploader to check a box declaring whether the image is suitable for persons under 18. Why can’t facebook implement something that would allow users to do the same? Or at worst, allow users to report, yet require a staff member to review the report before deleting a persons whole page as if it were no big deal to have an account deleted. Facebook’s actions speak loudly – they don’t really care about their users.

    To get my account reactivated, I kindly reminded Facebook that I had been paying to play an application/game and that if my account was deleted and I could no longer play, I demanded that they issue me a refund. Without the applications, there wouldn’t be much of a Facebook.

    I’m guessing that the reason other pages ‘get away’ with posting pornographic images is because most people who find that sort of thing offensive don’t visit or fan or go out of their way to look at those images. Since all of the ladies posting images of themselves breastfeeding are mommies, it’s more likely that the people who are reporting the images as offensive are those that are misinformed. Facebook’s policy of users censoring other users is as ridiculous as their automated warning/shutting pages down policy. I was once given a warning about posting too much on my own wall.

    • I wanted to A) agree that Facebook’s treatment of art photography as it relates to breastfeeding (or even just breasts — did you see the photos of an African woman that were deleted for being pornographic, because she happened to be topless?) is appalling. I’ve been lucky enough not have my account deleted, but I only have one or two breastfeeding photos, and my account is locked to friends — they’d have to be total douches to report me for being offensive at that point.

      But I also wanted to note that deviantART has their own discriminatory faux pas. I think we have the trouble that there isn’t a site yet that especially accepts everyone.

  7. I am so baffled at why Facebook cannot get the simple fact that breastfeeding is not some crazy offensive thing that should never happen. Facebook is so big in the world today. They should be thinking about the influence they have on young people. If they portray breastfeeding in a negative light, then these young people are going to grow up thinking it’s some obscene, disgusting thing. How horrible. I have friends on Facebook who do modeling, and I can tell you that I’ve seen more of their boobs in pictures than I have ever shown of my breasts while nursing my daughter, and Facebook doesn’t delete them.

  8. I had my account disabled this week and have a group to help reinstate it, I have written to FB several times and heard nothing. It has been really hard not having my support system. Seeing other mum’s feeding their babies in any and every way possible shows other mums that it is normal and gives them the confidence to do it for their own baby. I also run a support group for mothers parenting a similar way from me which is an invaluable group given the lack of ‘community’ or ‘village’ around to help me raise my two kids. I am at a loss to understand what can be so offensive and pornographic and have asked again and again that my account be reinstated.

    Miriam

  9. I had my account disabled this week and have a group to help reinstate it, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bring-Back-Miriam-Berlow-Jackson/136021123123724?v=wall.

    I have written to FB several times and heard nothing. It has been really hard not having my support system. Seeing other mum’s feeding their babies in any and every way possible shows other mums that it is normal and gives them the confidence to do it for their own baby. I also run a support group for mothers parenting a similar way from me which is an invaluable group given the lack of ‘community’ or ‘village’ around to help me raise my two kids. I am at a loss to understand what can be so offensive and pornographic and have asked again and again that my account be reinstated

  10. Sharon Spink says:

    I have posted pictures several time of my DD BF and only once had the bog standard “You have had a photograph deleted” message, luckily my account stayed intact but as the owner of a BF related business and a BF peer support worker who regularly uses pages like TLB and Dispelling Breastfeeding Myths it makes me very cautious about what I post.
    Facebook should be supporting us not putting us on edge.
    http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Hey-Fcebook-Breastfeeding-is-Not-Obscene-official-petition-fan-page/136653679725747

  11. Jett Switzer says:

    Hey doll, my friend Melissa Rybolt is your FB friend and I saw you on my local news today. My daughters are 14 and 21 but I respect you and give you all the credit in the world you are doing what is our “mother nature’s” right! We are all fascinated with show we see seeing little baby monkeys or pandas or even puppies or kittens doing the same! I never breastfed but I applaud you and think you are AMAZING and you are giving Moms strength everywhere. Whether we are breastfeeding or not, you are our voice box! Keep it Up and do work!

    • Jett, thank you so much. That’s how it should be, right? Empowering each other as mothers, as women regardless of the choices we make as long as we’re taking care of and loving our children. Thank you for the support, we all need it!

  12. Amber Troxler - Sours says:

    They disabled my page. They sent me 1 warning and with in the hour they disabled my page. I posted photos of me breast feeding my daughter last night and got this message today. I am hurt and really ticked off. This is BS!!

  13. I had a photo of my newborn daughter removed in 2008. I haven’t had any issues since then, but since I post pictures of myself nursing my second child, I am just waiting.

    I do know that Facebook has deleted the user called Denver Doula. She has a group dedicated to bringing her back,

    http://www.facebook.com/CheekyMonkeysBooks?v=info#!/pages/Bring-Back-Denver-Doula/179809722039592

    It really is ridiculous how they claim to be a ‘public social networking’ site, and yet they don’t even support freedom of speech.. cuz that’s what it is!! I’m glad to see people taking a stand against this type of injustice!

  14. Kate Hansen had her art page removed, some of her art is mother babe BF paintings.. she is from my hometown on Vancouver Island 🙂

    http://www.cbc.ca/consumer/story/2010/10/01/sk-breast-feeding-facebook.html

    • Hey Melia!
      Thank you!
      Just so everyone knows I got my account back, probably due to media involvement. You can find me on Facebook here:
      http://on.fb.me/frquJl
      Involve the media if you can! Maybe even ban together and approach media as a group!
      Hugs to everyone,
      Kate

  15. Bobby Treat says:

    “…certainly nothing as revealing as what you can find on the Playboy Facebook page…” I support what you’re trying to do, but I couldn’t find any nudity on Playboy’s page. It’s young, pretty faces, and that’s it. The text teases a viewer, where you have a higher purpose… but I’d have to say your photos are more adult and more revealing. There are links to less innocent websites from Playbox FB, but even those are pretty tame (far as I could tell from a quick check). Their first page was tame, at least, in each case.

    • I went and checked Playboy last night and there weren’t as many however there were still several photos of women in lacy bra and panties that have obvious sexual overtones. I don’t see how a breastfeeding photo is more adult or more revealing than even a Victoria Secret ad or the Playboy women in bra and panties lounging on a couch.

  16. Hmmmm I guess if you pay for advertising, you can have sexual things like items about sex, but I guess once you make a baby, we can’t show how to feed them!!!!

    The following is from their help section:

    Facebook does not allow advertisements that contain or promote adult content.

    This may include nudity, sexual terms and/or images of people in positions or activities that are excessively suggestive or sexual, or provocative images. Some sexual health products or services may be allowed, including ads for contraceptives or sexual health resources, but such ads must be targeted to users over the age of 18. Sexual performance enhancers are not permitted.

  17. Katherine says:

    To Whom It May Concern, As you know you recently deleted the breastfeeding support page The Leaky Boob. In peaceful protest, myself and others in support of the group and breastfeeding, posted and or changed their profile picture to a picture depicting us feeding our babies. According to the laws, Md. Health-General Code Ann. § 20-801, Cal. Civil Code § 43.3, Ga. Code § 31-1-9, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-190.9, N.Y. Civil Rights Law § 79-e, N.Y. Penal Law § 245.01 et seq., Pa. Cons. Stat. tit. 35 § 636.1 et seq., and S.C. Code Ann. § 63-5-40 as observed by the state of Maryland to which I reside, the state of California in which you are headquartered, and the states in which all of my friends reside I am allowed to freely feed my child in a public place. I fully consider Facebook a public domain, and I feel my page is mine to express myself as I wish within certain acceptable parameters, with breastfeeding being included. That being said Facebook has deleted/disabled several member accounts including my own. I must also add that I was not given any warning that my page would be disabled, only a notification as forwarded below of the photo being deleted. I view both these actions as a violation not only of my rights as observed by the states listed above to feed my child, I also feel it is a violation of my constitutional right to assembly interpreted to include freedom of speech and freedom of peaceful protest. I request peacefully that my page be reinstated based upon these precedence’s. My image was neither pornographic nor violent in nature and therefore should not have been censored, I however will agree to remove said image and replace it with a non copy written symbol of support that is also being used within my specific interest group. Thank you for your time and attention to this matter and I look forward to your prompt response. Thank You, Katherine Hunt [email protected]
    This is the letter I sent when they disabled me Monday, I also sent a second when I did not receive a responce. I did get one Wed, a generic saying please be patient while we address the “issue”.

    • Katherine, excellent letter! Please keep me updated as to their response and I would suggest emailing them daily, several times a day. I will also send an email on your behalf.

  18. Katherine says:

    I have also written my local ACLU and First Lady Obama about this because I believe it is discrimenation

  19. My account hasn’t been deleted or disabled, but my profile picture I put up yesterday for the Nurse-In was deleted yesterday afternoon. Not impressed, FB!

  20. Historic Breastfeeding photos group had ALL their pictures deleted. I don’t know about you, but once they started deleting PAINTINGS of breastfeeding mothers, that is when they lost all culture. What’s next? the Venus De Milo is going to be banned because she’s a naked scuplture?!?! I thought art was off limits.. but i guess i was wrong! hth!

  21. we have started a Facebook group for people who have been deleted.
    http://bit.ly/gwKlHZ
    please come post when, what and facebot’s “reason” so we can get all this info in one place and start keeping track.
    thanks- kat

  22. The ones I’m aware of (other than yours and Judy’s), include

    Emma Kwasnica
    Kari Bundy
    Momzelle
    Heather Farley
    Kelli Roman

    I know when the “Hey facebook, breastfeeding isn’t obscene” group was first started, tons of moms posted about their experiences having pictures removed over there.

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Monique C. and others. Monique C. said: RT @TheLeakyBoob: #Facebook, it's been 4 years of this same problem, it's time to FIX IT. http://bit.ly/faJAaR #breastfeeding is not obs … […]

  2. […] founder of The Leaky B@@b commented the incident: It’s Time for Facebook to Prove It’s Not Anti-Women As excited as we are to have The Leaky B@@b back, the problem remains and any page, individual, or […]

  3. […] breastfeeding pictures and pages getting banned from facebook (Momzelle, Leaky Boob, Kari […]