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28th December
2008
  

Tits at Facebook...


Nice 'n' Naughty

Protests against Facebook's ban on breast feeding pictures

Facebook logo The virtual nurse-in to protest Facebook's ban on breast-feeding photos has taken off, with hundreds hourly joining a group that crept toward 70,000 members Saturday evening.

A real-life, street protest drew fewer placards than photojournalists Saturday, with only a handful turning out to sing, chant and breast-feed in front of Facebook's California headquarters. A handful of peaceful pickets discreetly tucked away in a University Avenue plaza with placards reading Hey Facebook, Breast-feeding is not Obscene . A member of the Raging Grannies, the Midpeninsula activists who stage various theatrical protests, showed up to proclaim in song that our breasts aren't porn.

It's hard to say whether either demonstration will move Facebook executives to lift the site's prohibition of breasts displayed on members' profiles and albums. Facebook says the areola, the dark skin around the nipple, violates a policy on obscene, pornographic or sexually explicit material.

On their Facebook group site, which also serves as an open petition to the company, nursing advocates by Saturday evening had posted more than 10,000 wall comments, two dozen videos and nearly 3,000 photos of breast-feeding, while starting more than 1,500 discussion threads. Facebook, it seemed, was not removing them.

All this might not have happened had the social networking site simply answered Heather Farley's e-mail asking why the networking giant in October removed photos of her breast-feeding her baby. When she posted another photo and then received a letter threatening to delete her account, she went public.

Heather Farley, a self described avid user of Facebook with 200 online friends, said she doesn't know how far she'll pursue her protest. She doesn't want to lose her Facebook account, which is the primary way she keeps in touch with high school and college friends and is the place she and her husband post their family photos.

Still, she's blogged about her disputes with Facebook. And although the company still hasn't answered any of her electronic messages, she's now hearing from people worldwide.

 

4th January
2009
  

Offsite: Faceless Censors...

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A bit too in your Facebook

On the Saturday after Christmas the entrance to the headquarters in Palo Alto, California, of Facebook, the social networking site that has 140m users worldwide, was the venue for a supersized nativity scene as breastfeeding mothers gathered in protest. The so-called nurse-in was held in support of another young mother, Kelli Roman, whose profile picture had been removed by the Facebook moderator because it showed her suckling her baby.

Facebook’s spokesman, Barry Schnitt, says the censorship of Roman’s breastfeeding photo is part of its antinudity policy. He said: Breastfeeding is a natural and beautiful act and we’re very glad to know that it is so important to some mothers to share this experience with others on Facebook. We take no action on the vast majority of breastfeeding photos because they follow the site’s terms of use. Photos containing a fully exposed breast do violate those terms and may be removed. These policies are designed to ensure Facebook remains a safe, secure and trusted environment for all users, including the many children over the age of 13 who use the site. The photos we act on are almost exclusively brought to our attention by other users who complain.

Facebook also bans pictures showing nipple, areola or gluteal cleft (bum cleavage, as was). Of course, this policy has originated in the United States, where the flash of Janet Jackson’s nipple at the 2004 Super Bowl caused a national furore. Any child in Britain can get all the areolas he or she wants in the nation’s most popular daily newspaper.

I wonder how many people in Facebook HQ sit on the working committee on nipple exposure. When exactly does a natural and beautiful act become something that endangers the moral wellbeing of 13-year-olds?

...Read full article

I don't normally sign petitions, but in this case...

See article from guardian.co.uk by Victoria Coren

More than 100,000 people have now signed an online petition, protesting against the Facebook ban on photographs of women breast-feeding.

Clicking join this group on a Facebook petition page is too easy to carry any weight. People do it for fun, or to pass the time, or by mistake. Large numbers don't make the issue important or newsworthy. One hundred thousand people have clicked to register their disapproval of the breast-feeding photo ban, but 300,000 have clicked I want my 90's Nickelodeon back.

The breast-feeding petitioners are obviously right, though. What an exasperating, stupid, misguided ban. It comes under the general rule of no fully exposed breasts . Presumably, the person responsible is one of those who can't look at a nipple, even when it's waiting to feed a baby, without giggling, pointing and making honking noises.

Whoever ruled that a feeding breast would violate the rules on obscene, pornographic or sexually explicit material needs, rather than banning them, to look at as many as possible, until he morphs gradually back from Sid James into someone who recognises an innocent, sexless human function that a proud mother might like to record in her online baby album.

 

13th January
2009
  

Update: Xtra Censorship...

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Gay magazine faces Facebook censorship

Xtra cover Censors at Facebook social networking site have removed the cover image of the Sep 11, 2008 issue of the Canadian gay magazine, Xtra, with only a vague explanation: Facebook was trying to protect children from viewing the image.

Julia Garro is the associate editor of the Toronto gay and lesbian newspaper. She uploads each issue's cover image to the Friends of Xtra Facebook group.

But this week, she received a message from Facebook, warning her that one image had been deleted from the Friends of Xtra group:

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.

Facebook declined to answer Xtra.ca's repeated attempts for an interview, so we are unable to clarify how the sight of naked breasts might create an unsafe environment for youth.

The social-networking site recently came under fire for deleting pictures of women breastfeeding their children. Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt told the New York Times that the company has no plans to change their strict no-nudity policy: Certainly we can agree that there is context where nudity is not obscene, but we are reviewing thousands of complaints a day.Whether it's obscene, art or a natural act — we'd rather just leave it at nudity and draw the line there.

Worse yet, there's no transparency in Facebook's decision-making process. Facebook typically refuses to elaborate or engage in discussion after it censors an image.

 

 

24th May
2009
  

Offsite: No Tits at Facebook...

An insight into Facebook's censorship of flagged content

Facebook logo Censors at Facebook have developed semiformal policies like the Fully Exposed Butt Rule, the Crack Rule and the Nipple Rule. In this photo there's no visible areola, he decides, so it stays. After delivering a verdict on 75 of the 438,848 outstanding photos flagged by Facebook users—buff guy soaping up in the shower (OK); girl blowing an epic cloud of pot smoke (he deletes it); an underage user drinking from two liquor bottles at once (ditto)—Axten is off to a meeting. It's just another day at the office of the world's fastest-growing social-networking site.

Axten is one of 150 people Facebook employs to keep the site clean—out of a total head count of 850. Facebook describes these staffers as an internal police force, charged with regulating users' decorum, hunting spammers and working with actual law-enforcement agencies to help solve crimes. Part hall monitors, part vice cops, these employees are key weapons in Facebook's efforts to maintain its image as a place that's safe for corporate advertisers.

It's a tricky job: by insisting that users sign up under real names and refrain from posting R-rated photos, Facebook hopes to widen its user base to include professionals, but it's aware that heavy-handed censorship could upset its existing members.

...Read full article

 

29th May
2009
  

Update: Facing up to Insensitive Censorship...

Facebook censor breast cancer awareness pictures.

Facebook logo After having a mastectomy, Sharon Adams decided to raise awareness of breast cancer by posting photographs of her scar on Facebook.

They were accompanied by a description of the mother of four's fight against the disease and encouragement from her for other women to go for regular check-ups.

But within a day, the social networking site removed the photos after describing them as sexual and abusive.

The action triggered a wave of protest, with nearly 900 people joining an online group calling for the ban to be lifted. Supporters set up a site called Get Sharon Adams' Pictures Back on Facebook for Breast Cancer , which attracted support from across the world.

I put these pictures out on Facebook to put a message out to women - check your breasts regularly and do not ever be ashamed of a mastectomy, said Miss Adams, 45, yesterday: For Facebook to claim they were sexual and abusive was absurd. Facebook has online groups about sexual positions and some groups which are bordering on racist - but they ban this.

Facebook has admitted that it made a mistake. A spokesman said: Our user operations team reviews thousands of reported photos a day and may occasionally remove something-that doesn't actually violate our policies. This is what happened here. We apologise.

 

15th February
2010
  

Update: Pig's Nipples at Facebook...

Hey Facebook, Breastfeeding is Not Obscene!

Suckling PigsFacebook routinely deletes from its site photos of breastfeeding. It has labelled them obscene and pornographic. It says that it has rules for what is allowed on its site, but its careless actions show it does not.

Facebook's clueless manner of censoring is not just pointless but harmful. There are other ways to deal with unwanted material than by immature, arrogant, and foolish removal of what one doesn't like, especially when photos of breastfeeding are claimed to harm children, a claim Facebook has made for years.

Here is a recent photo Facebook removed. Could Facebook have a bad case of nipplephobia?

Based on article from theotherpaper.com

A charge led by Facebook administrators to delete pictures of breast-feeding moms from its pages may land the social media site in the middle of a class action lawsuit.

There have been rumblings since last December. A lot of people are really eager to call Facebook to task and we're considering whether a class action lawsuit will be viable, said Stephanie Muir, a Canadian administrator for the Facebook group, Hey Facebook, Breastfeeding is Not Obscene! We want to hit them in the pocketbook so they'll actually pay attention. Facebook is getting away with something they would not be able to get away with outside the virtual world. It's basically discrimination.

Facebook fired a warning shot recently to show it's serious about taking down the group's page by deleting Muir's personal page as well.

The group is still there. And I have created a different account for myself, said Muir. But everything I previously had is gone, including every single post I've ever made.

Muir said Facebook initially told the group they were in copyright violation and that's why they were going to be removed: One of our administrators in Scotland e-mailed an inquiry and the response said, 'We're sorry, our message was in error. It's not a copyright violation, it's nudity and explicit sexual content that your group has been removed, They said in their statement it wasn't the breast-feeding, it was the nipples that were the problem. They're very inconsistent, which is a great source of irritation. They have changed their story a number of times.

We're going to continue to keep a strong presence . It's still a mystery to me how anyone could feel so strongly to interfere with a community of a quarter of a million people. You know, you have options; if you see a breast-feeding woman (or her picture), you can either harass her or you can use your neck and swivel your head in the other direction. We ultimately just want them to leave breast-feeding pictures alone.

 

16th April
2010
  

Update: The Mean Face of Facebook...

Social networking website takes issue with breastfeeding

kate hansen gallery What was supposed to be images celebrating pregnancy and motherhood created by a Courtenay artist are now considered hateful, threatening or obscene by one of largest social networking sites in the world.

Mother and artist Kate Hansen recently created a series of portraits called The Madonna Child Project — images which feature different mothers and babies cuddling their babies while breastfeeding and bottle feeding.

Hansen posted some of the images in a figurative art group on Facebook and discovered the portraits were being deleted around late March.

Hansen noted she initially posted images in groups of three, and all images got deleted. She inquired with the Facebook group administrator, who assured her she had no reason to delete the images. Hansen continued to repost the images, and soon after, found they were being continually deleted from the site.

Last week, she received an e-mail from The Facebook Team noting: you posted an item that violated our terms of use, and this item has been removed. Among other things, content that is hateful, threatening or obscene is not allowed, nor is content that attacks an individual or group. Continued misuse of Facebook's features could result in your account being disabled.

During a recent interview with CBC Radio, which contacted a Facebook representative, Hansen said the social networking site representative noted they supposedly do not delete breastfeeding images.

She said the entire incident has made her question the overall topic of breastfeeding in society, and the public perception of the act. At least it's gotten people talking about it, noted Hansen: I will continue to post images and risk my account being deleted; the risk is worth it, she added.

 

11th August
2010
  

Update: No Liberty at Facebook...

Facebook takes down topless Statue of Liberty picture

statue of liberty go toplessGoTopLess.org is calling for a public protest after an image at the organization's Facebook page depicting the Statue of Liberty with bare breasts was removed by Facebook staff. The disputed image was a photo of a painting by GoTopless member Donna Grabow.

The incident began when GoTopLess president Nadine Gary received an e-mail from Facebook staff on July 18 explaining the reason for the photo's removal. It read, in part:

You uploaded a picture to 'NEW YORK National Go Topless Day: A March for Women's Equal Rights! AUG 22 that violates our Terms of Use, and this picture has been removed. 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.

Brigitte Boisselier said:

I'm asking all my friends on Facebook and those who believe in equal rights for men and women to post the picture that was taken down, Boisselier said. Some frustrated individuals can't see a nipple without freaking out or feeling offended, but we've already had enough discrimination against the female body. I'm asking all women on Facebook to stand for equal topless rights by posting this photo to their own pages. And I'm also asking all men who can appreciate a female body without feeling guilty to do the same.

The female chest is beautiful and children shouldn't be told it's sinful to look at it. That sort of repression causes frustration and guilt that they will experience as adults, which is such a ridiculous waste. Bare female breasts are seen on all European beaches at this time of year, but as far as I know, incidence of rape and other sexually violent incidents is lower in Europe than in America.

Artist Grabow agrees that Facebook's action was discriminatory and wrong.

Censorship of this painting denies freedom of speech and expression and reflects American prudishness, she said. What's funny is that the Statue of Liberty was a gift from the French government, and all the French people I know smile when they see this feminized painting. In fact, Europeans just laugh when they learn that Facebook is censoring innocent images like this one. After all, images of nude statues are displayed everywhere else without protest, including in school books.

 

28th November
2010
  

Update: Scarred by Facebook Censorship...

British woman allowed to post images of scars to raise breast cancer awareness

Facebook logo Social networking site Facebook is to allow photographs of a woman who had surgery for breast cancer after it removed them from her profile.

The pictures of Anna Antell from Oxfordshire, were initially deemed to be nudity and taken down.

Facebook now says it supports her right to share her experience and the images of her post-op scars can be published.

Ms Antell, who said it was brilliant news , will again upload the images which she hopes will raise awareness. One of the pictures which was removed depicts Ms Antell covering one breast while showing the scar tissue of the removed breast.

She said: I think it is really good they have realised that it is a valid thing; me showing a bare shoulder and a scar is not offensive.

Update: Acquitted

14th March 2011. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

A breast cancer survivor's Facebook page has been blocked after she published a photo of her reconstructed breasts following her operation.

Melissa Tullett put the picture on the website after she had a double mastectomy. The social networking site blocked her page and removed the image because it said it broke its rules on nudity. Ms Tullett said she had only intended to offer encouragement to fellow breast cancer sufferers.

It was to show other women that after such an ordeal you can come out of it with your dignity and your womanhood again, and that it's not all frightening. They [Facebook] just told me that I'd uploaded a photo that violated their terms of use and that they were deleting the photo. But they didn't actually tell me they were disabling my account .

Ms Tullett's page has since been reactivated, but she has been told not to repost the picture.

 

6th January
2011
  

Update: The Leaky B@@b...

Facebook again get offended by breast feeding pictures

leaky boob logo It's been a hectic start to the year for mom Jessica Martin-Weber, founder and editor of the breastfeeding support group The Leaky B@@b.

The group, which offers a space on Facebook for around 5,000 breastfeeding moms to ask questions and offer advice and support, was deleted over the weekend. Facebook claimed that it had violated their Terms of Service, insinuating that breastfeeding photos posted on the group's page were obscene.

In response to the deletion, breastfeeding supporters, both former members of the group and others, jumped into action, creating two pages on Facebook, Bring Back the Leaky Boob and TLB Support, which together gained more than 10,000 fans.

Martin-Weber released a statement urging Facebook not only to restore the group's page, but to stop considering breastfeeding and any other material and photos related to breast health, obscene.

Shortly thereafter, Facebook reinstated the group's page after 'offending' photos  and pages were deleted by Facebook, also vaguely claiming that they were in violation of the company's Terms of Service.

Shortly after Facebook has once again deleted The Leaky B@@b – as well as the Bring Back the Leaky Boob group that had formed in response to its deletion!

But again later restored The Leaky B@@b and the page is currently still available.

 

21st February
2011
  

Update: Deviant From Their Own Guidelines...

Facebook ban all sex related content even if it is not pornographic and is following the published guidelines

Students who are funding their studies by lap-dancing

browns shoreditchJoy Nilsson is a student protester, but not as we know it. She has just started an MSc at a London university. Today she is bundled up in a puffa jacket and a fluorescent waistcoat outside Hackney Town Hall, marching along with a group carrying signs and shouting through megaphones. But this protest is not about tuition fees or higher education funding cuts. These women are here to oppose a plan to clamp down on east London's menagerie of strip and lap-dancing clubs. If the plan goes through, Nilsson says she will struggle to be able to pay for her postgraduate course, because she is funding it with her job as a professional lap-dancer.

If they close the clubs many women will drop out of higher education, she says. I don't want to owe ?50,000 when I graduate, and I know other women feel the same. I love my job and I'm very proud of what I do -- it fits perfectly with my studying, it's very flexible and you get your money up front. What other jobs give you that kind of freedom?

...Read the full article

 

22nd February
2011
  

Update: Facebook Put in their Place...

New York Academy of Art fires off excellent attack on Facebook censors

 

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22nd February    Saw 3D: The Final Chapter

 

Restoring the bits previously sawn off