You often read about Facebook banning photos of mums breastfeeding or cuddling their newborns after birth when a bit of flesh is on display. Today one of my Facebook friends commented on a photo that someone else had posted, meaning it appeared in my timeline. I am deliberately NOT going to say who the post was by, post a link to it it put up a screen grab as that would just give them the attention they want.
|A "Facebook appropriate" breastfeeding photo...|
Instead I will very briefly describe it, only so you understand. It was a collection of 4 photos. Each contained a dead baby. Abandoned in a field/by a river/somewhere out in the open. I do not know if it was repeated photos of the same baby, or 4 different ones. I did not look at the images long enough to tell. But each was bloodied and broken, all on their own and looked like they had just been thrown away. All looked like newborns.
In my line of work I have seen lots of dead bodies. Sad but true, it's a fact of the job. And that has included dead babies. But I was truly shocked by these photos. Who posts them? Who likes to see them appear in their timeline? When you look back at the poster's homepage they repeatedly post things like that to receive lots of comments (for example, "you have to say amen for these babies" - cue 10k+ likes (WTF??!!) and the same number of comments). Do people really find it so exciting to receive Facebook comments that they would post this sort of material?
Anyway so that was shocking. But it gets worse. As any normal person would do I reported it to Facebook. Surely posting pictures like that breaches one of their guidelines? Well, no. They wrote back saying the photos were not inappropriate. I couldn't believe it, surely they had maybe looked at the wrong photo? So I reported it again. But no, they were serious. This is their exact reply:
We reviewed the photo you reported for annoying and distasteful humor and found it doesn't violate our Community Standards." (click to see their definition of community standards).
I am speechless. How do these photos not fall into the "Graphic content" section? Or the "Nudity" section? How on earth do these not violate everyone's "community standards"?!
I have never been tempted to start any sort of campaign/speak out about anything before but this has completely appalled me. How can this be right? What sort of society are we living in that it is deemed not acceptable to see a mother breastfeeding but is to post photos of dead abandoned babies to garner "likes"? What makes me even more sad is that my children will grow up in such a society.
So have a think. What do you think? Should you be allowed to say anything to anyone? Be aware - on Facebook you don't have to actively "like" things yourself or follow people directly to see such material. It can come via a friend, or even a friend of a friend, liking or commenting on a post.
It could appear in your kid's timeline next time.
Or the timeline of your friend who just lost their baby.
Or just an average person like me who still thinks this is shockingly disturbing.
I don't know about you but I would much rather see a newborn suckling on their mother's breasts (even with an exposed nipple...) a hundred times a day for the rest of my life than see anything like that again.
I think Facebook need to wake up and accept more social responsibility, and act accordingly.