Saturday 24 March 2018

#FreeTheNipple: Facebook allows breast feeding photos

Kashmira Gander

Facebook has changed its community guidelines to allow users to post photos of breastfeeding.

The change comes as the wide-ranging #FreeTheNipple online campaign has built pace in its attack against guidelines used by social media websites to regulate nudity – from photos of breastfeeding to topless photos post by singer Rihanna’s on her now defunct Instagram account.

Facebook’s Community Standards, which outline what users are allowed to post, never included a outright ban on photos of breastfeeding.

However, users who had posted photos of women showing their nipples while breast feeding have complained that Facebook moderators citing ‘nudity and pornography’ removed their images, regardless of whether the photos were overtly sexual.

Now, the social media giant has ordered its moderators to consider the context of a photo or image, meaning non-sexual photos including female nipples, such as nursing mothers or women with mastectomies, will be allowed on the website.

To test the new rules, US parenting blogger Paala Secor posted a tender photo of her breastfeeding to her 4,655 Facebook followers, in which her nipple was exposed.

Alongside the photo accompanied with #FreeTheNipple, she wrote: “We are proud to nourish our babies with our breasts and we will not be shamed for it. We will share our special/difficult/funny/priceless breastfeeding moments with our friends, families, and community and we will not to told [sic] to keep them to ourselves."

She discovered that while the website’s policy has changed officially, its implementation appears to be unclear to some moderators.

Less than a day after she released the photo, Facebook unpublished her page and warned it could be deleted, Secor explained on her personal blog. She later received an apology from the website in which a member of the Community Operations  team admitted the page had been “accidentally” removed  because of “something [Secor] posted”, and the photo was re-instated.

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