Facebook removes woman's breastfeeding photo citing nudity but later reinstates it

A screenshot on Facebook outlining the social media network's stance on allowing photos of mothers breastfeeding. -- PHOTO: FACEBOOK
A screenshot on Facebook outlining the social media network's stance on allowing photos of mothers breastfeeding. -- PHOTO: FACEBOOK

She was told her baby would not survive more than three days.

So when the premature baby Carene suckled her mother Emma Bond on Oct 26, a few weeks after she was born, it was a huge cause for celebration and Ms Bond uploaded a black-and-white picture of her baby latched onto her breast onto Facebook.

However, someone reported the picture for nudity and it was removed by the social networking site.

Ms Bond, 24, who lives in a county in West England with her son and her partner, told the Daily Mirror that the picture could be viewed only by her friends and family.

"It was a magical moment and to have (the picture) removed the same day for breaching nudity policies was really rubbing salt in (our) wounds," she said.

Baby Carene had been born by emergency Caesarean section, and was 12 weeks before her due date.

"She was born with an infection, she had a lot going on. We don't know the outcome of the brain damage but she is able to move and open her eyes and look around and feed - which we were told would be unexpected," she told the Daily Mirror.

When her baby was breast-fed for the first time, Ms Bond wanted to share her joy over social media.

"Everyone was aware it was touch and go so I was sharing the special moment with people, to show them how far she had come," Ms Bond told British newspaper Metro.

"I was upset when it was reported. It is something very natural and special and should be promoted. Carene is (in poor health) and we fought very hard to get to this point."

Undeterred by the removal, Ms Bond then uploaded the same picture to a pro-breastfeeding group on Facebook, where it gained 166,000 'Likes' and was shared 22,000 times.

The Daily Mirror reported that Facebook received "hundreds of complaints from angry mums" and subsequently reinstated Ms Bond's photo.

In a message to Ms Bond, Facebook reportedly said: "The image that you shared was removed in error - it has now been republished."

The message also said that Facebook has since modified the way it reviews reports of nudity.

A check on the Facebook website currently shows this question: "Does Facebook allow photos of mothers breastfeeding?"

The answer? "Yes. We agree that breastfeeding is natural and beautiful and we're glad to know that it's important for mothers to share their experiences with others on Facebook. The vast majority of these photos are compliant with our policies."

"Please note that the photos we review are almost exclusively brought to our attention by other Facebook members who complain about them being shared on Facebook."

brynasim@sph.com.sg