Are photos of breastfeeding mothers obscene? This question is at the heart of the latest Facebook controversy, as angered users are protesting the site’s removal of graphic breastfeeding images. Facebook is currently one of the most popular social networking websites in the world with more than 140 million active users, and like most popular online organizations, it has a long and detailed list of terms and conditions. Among other things, users are forbidden to publish anything “obscene,” although no elaboration is made.
In October, a Facebook user named Heather Farley posted photos of herself breastfeeding her infant, and the images were promptly removed. When she uploaded them a second time, the Facebook team sent her a letter warning that she would be removed from the site if she continued to violate the terms of service. Frustrated, Heather soon located a popular Facebook group called "Hey Facebook, Breastfeeding is Not Obscene," which in a short time has grown to more than 81,000 members. The group’s homepage asks the question, “What about a baby breastfeeding is obscene? Especially in comparison to MANY other pictures posted all over Facebook that really are obscene.”
This has not appeased the passionate members of "Hey Facebook," however. On December 27th, the group hosted a virtual protest which reportedly drew more than eleven thousand participants. Protesters were encouraged to post images of breastfeeding mothers on their accounts, sending the message that “nursing moms everywhere have a right to show pictures of their babies eating, just like bottle-fed babies have a right to be seen.”
Click here to see our public breastfeeding debate.
OPPOSING VIEWS ASKS: Should Facebook allow images of breastfeeding mothers?