Facebook Criticized for Removing Post-Mastectomy Photos

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Facebook is getting criticism for removing pictures of women exposing their breast cancer scars, though the site says such images are allowed.

Sufferers of the disease, like Scorchy Barrington, say the images help them feel a sense of community. Programs like the SCAR Project upload series of portraits of young breast cancer survivors, their breasts fully exposed. 

The SCAR Project photos are shot by David Jay, and feature women and men post-mastectomy. 

Christina Farr said "Facebook has been systematically removing the images, even banning Jay from posting for 30 days," because the images have been flagged as porn.

Facebook has admitted openly that they allow post-mastectomy photos.

"Photos with fully exposed breasts, particularly if they're unaffected by surgery, do violate Facebook's Terms. These policies are based on the same standards which apply to television and print media, and that govern sites with a significant number of young people," they say. 

In a petition addressed to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Barrington wrote that she and other should be allowed to post their mastectomy photos on the site.

"Photos like those included in The SCAR Project help me feel a little less alone in what I'm going through. With so many young women facing breast cancer diagnoses, I know these photos give them hope, too," she said. 

She feels that the removal of the photos sends the message that "our struggle with this disease should be kept in the dark."

Facebook issued a comment to Venture Beat, which said, "We have long allowed mastectomy photos to be shared on Facebook, as well as educational and scientific photos of the human body and photos of women breastfeeding.

We only review or remove photos after they have been reported to us by people who see the images in their News Feeds or otherwise discover them. 

On occasion, we may remove a photo showing mastectomy scarring either by mistake, as our teams review millions of pieces of content daily, or because a photo has violated our terms for other reasons.

As a reminder, our terms stipulate that we generally do not allow nudity, with some exceptions as laid out above and here, consistent with other platforms that have many users."

Sources: Inquisitr, Venture Beat