A boob is a boob, right? Not really but I’ll tell you Facebook is being a boob and I’m giving them a big fat thumbs down right now! You might have heard about the recent controversy surrounding Facebook deleting photos of women breastfeeding from Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Facebook page. Basically the 25 and under computer geeks (disclaimer: I love computer geeks) have determined that if the photo is flagged obscene or with nudity that it violates their terms. Annie from PHD in Parenting breaks it down for Facebook but I’m guessing they aren’t listening!
So a boob is a boob, right?
A photo of a women’s breasts that is sexual and intended to be sexual is one thing that I understand Facebook should delete but remember someone has to “flag” the photo to alert Facebook. Baby Dickey so wonderfully points out how there are many offensive sexual photos on Facebook currently that are allowed to be posted and are not flagged but degrading a women sexually in society is normal (insert sarcasm, eye roll and snarl).
A photo of a women’s breasts that are being used to feed a child because that is their biological purpose is as natural as a photo on Facebook of a tree or flower. Wouldn’t it be nice if our society honored and respected this and the nasty photos of women in sexual poses that are probably 12 were unacceptable?
It is the context of the photo and the intention of the photo. I understand it is hard for Facebook to filter intentions but if a photo is “flagged”, Facebook should certainly look at the photo and not have a blanket rule that assumes each photo flagged is a violation of terms and obscene. I could be a competitor or dislike a company or person and flag their photo or links just out of spite and we know there are mean spirited people like this. In fact there is indeed a mean spirited person that claimed responsibility for flagging the photos and having them deleted – we call this person a TROLL!
I see two major issues:
1. Facebook needs to evaluate this blanket policy and allow for an appeal process that is timely and not an automated response that is as in personal as the policy. Facebook is about sharing and being personal with people so the company should consider being more personal with its customers and their needs. Even though we are talking millions of users the company needs to recognize that there is a loop hole in the photo flagging policy that can be detrimental. They’re also making very large statements with blanket policies that could be harmful to their company and the perception of their company. Essentially Facebook is letting a troll win which shows the serious flaw in their system.
2. Breastfeeding is being tagged as an obscene act when it is as natural to feed a hungry baby as it is to take a breath of air. Is it obscene or offensive to see a mother bird giving her baby a worm? No, mothers take care and feed their babies and that is what their breasts are meant to do, produce milk.
Whenever there are disagreements, flaws in a system or mistakes there is room for growth and to learn from our errors. I think these two major issues could be educational and Facebook could improve their system and terms to better protect women’s rights and companies like Earth Mama Angel Baby can use this opportunity, as they are, to shed light on the beauty of breastfeeding. Personally, I would love to see an open, live discussion with Facebook about this and let their users give them feedback so they can improve. After all, we are their customers and they make a pretty penny because of our use and promotion of their free service. Isn’t the customer always right?