Facebook Blocks Birth PhotosRebecca Odes
Laura Eckert is a photographer who specializes in photos of pregnancy and birth. Her clients are often understandably busy with their new babies after a shoot, so she gets copies of their photos to them in the easiest possible way: putting the images up on Facebook.
But she might not be doing that quite so freely anymore. On December 22nd, Eckert went to log into her account and found it had been shut down. She made over 30 attempts to contact the company to find out why and got no response. Her account was blocked for several weeks as she continued to ask Facebook why. Finally, she got an email—but only after her story had been picked up the T.V. news.
So why did Facebook decide to shut Eckert’s account down?
Apparently, some of the pictures Eckert had posted from a recent birth were tagged as “obscene” by their photo censors. Facebook has strict anti-obscenity policies for photos, intended to keep the site safe for younger users. Eckert says that she is always conscious of these policies. She crops her photos carefully to comply, never showing genitalia or even a nipple. So what exactly did the photo censors find objectionable?
Eckert doesn’t know for sure, because the company wouldn’t specify which photos they tagged. But she suspects that the offending photos were taken at a relatively recent birth. Pictured: a newly born baby lying on his mother’s chest in a bathtub. No nipples. A bit of breast exposed, but not more than a sexy bathing suit. And Facebook doesn’t seem to have a problem with itsy bitsy bikinis, do they?
The company eventually apologized, saying they stand by their policies but realize they aren’t foolproof. “Of course, we make an occasional mistake. This is an example,” said Facebook spokesman Simon Axten. “When this happens, and it’s brought to our attention, we work quickly to resolve the issue.”
Ok…so why does the company still consider photos of breastfeeding obscene as a rule?
Hey Facebook, how about resolving this issue: If you can show breasts in sexy lingerie and low cut dresses and skimpy bathing suits, why can’t you show them nurturing babies?
See Laura Eckert’s story on the TV news.