Facebook: Breastfeeding photos that bare all are OK

After pressure from a parenting blogger and the #FreeTheNipple campaign, Facebook has changed its community standards to give moderators more leeway in using common sense.

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Can those on sites such as this now post freely? Black Women Do Breastfeed/Facebook screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

The battle between Facebook and the breast has been going on as long, it seems, as Apple's battle with Samsung.

Breasts always seemed to represent more of a threat to the Facebook community than, for example, hate.

In particular, Facebook's own breast police were scrupulous in spotting the merest hint of nipple or areola.

The more women railed against the company, the more Facebook tightened its tin hat and sharpened its magnifying glass.

Now, however, the company has experienced a change of heart, mind, and body.

As the Independent reported Thursday, the company quietly (of course) changed its community guidelines. Paala Secor, a parenting blogger, took a picture of herself and her baby. Her nipple was visible. She added the now famous hashtag #freethenipple.

She did all this explicitly as a test.

At first, she says on her Facebook page, she was threatened with "complete deletion."

But then: "I was pissed. I went to bed at 2am, still pissed. By 4am, I noticed it was back up when I woke up for a feed. Yay! By 6am, I noticed an apology in my inbox."

Facebook seemed to change its mind yet again, though: "But then FB had me log in again (which only happens when they have bad news for me) to tell me my photo is considered nudity. But it wasn't 24 hours ago. What a pile of sh*t. Really? Come on."

Currently, her breastfeeding pictures are live again.

In a post written Thursday night, Secor wrote: "It's so nice to be able to share the oh-so-wonderful breastfeeding moments that we couldn't share before. I appreciate the nipple ban on breastfeeding being lifted by Facebook."

In response to a request for a comment, a Facebook spokesperson told CNET: "We have always allowed breast-feeding photos - it is natural and beautiful and we know that it's important for mothers to share their experiences with others on Facebook."

"What we have done is modified the way we review reports of nudity to help us better examine the context of the photo or image," the representative said. "As a result of this, photos that show a nursing mother's other breast will be allowed even if it is fully exposed, as will mastectomy photos showing a fully exposed other breast."

The change puts the experience of 25-year-old Karlesha Thurman in interesting relief. In graduating from Cal State Long Beach last month, she breastfed her baby and posted a picture of it on the Facebook page Black Women Do Breastfeed. Thurman was wearing a cap and gown.

As CBS Los Angeles reports, this posting caused unexpected (for Thurman) controversy.

Clearly, the hope is that as the world moves on, women who clearly want to share their breastfeeding pictures with their friends can do so without the disapproving eye of Nanny Facebook upon them.

 

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