Facebook policy on breastfeeding photos sucks: B.C. mom
Published Wednesday, January 11, 2012 2:58PM PST
A B.C. mom who has had her breastfeeding photos repeatedly flagged and removed from Facebook is calling on the social media site to distinguish nursing from pornography.
Vancouver resident Emma Kwasnica says her breastfeeding images have been tugged from the site four times since she joined in 2008, and on one occasion Facebook suspended her account for 30 days.
"Facebook has called the photos ‘sexually explicit.' Other terms they've used in the past are ‘pornographic,' ‘obscene.' They've classified it as nudity," said Kwasnica, a childbirth educator and nursing counselor.
"All of these terms obviously have got mothers up in arms."
Facebook has a strict policy against nudity, but claims it allows nursing photos as long as they do not depict "a fully exposed breast where a baby is not actively engaged in nursing."
Kwasnica denies any of her photos fall under that definition, but says the company has no right to make stipulations about breastfeeding images either way.
"You can't stipulate whether the baby is latched, you can't stipulate the age of the baby, you can't stipulate size of areola," she said.
The site has not returned her requests to speak about the issue, Kwasnica says.
Targeting breastfeeding photos amounts to discrimination, she argues, particularly while some fan groups – including "Breasts," which has 1,414 members – exist only to titilate users.
At one point, after several of Kwasnica's photos had been flagged or removed, the mother-of-three says she was prompted to scroll through her own albums and remove sexually explicit material.
"I don't know what they're going to find sexually explicit. To me, none of it is."
The last photo she had removed was in a private album accessible only by her friends, of which Kwasnica admits she has more than 4,000.
Facebook's Frequently Asked Questions page acknowledges that many mothers find it important to share their breastfeeding experiences online, describing the process as "natural" and "beautiful."
But mothers like Kwasnica say it's more appropriately described as "a human right."
"All provinces in Canada, all states in the United States protect the right of a child to breastfeed at a mother's breast," she said. "But Facebook says we have to have community standards."
Have your say: Should breastfeeding photos be allowed on Facebook, even when the breast is exposed?