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Facebook breastfeeding pic takedown gets backs up

Milk is off

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Facebook has made itself ever so unpopular with online mothers after yanking breastfeeding pics from the site.

According to the Telegraph many users displaying shots of breastfeeding in their profiles have been threatened with banishment from the online procrastination mecca, while thousands have had pictures removed as "obscene content". As is customary on such censory occasions a campaign has grown within Facebook to make Zuckerberg's baby grow up and sort itself out - a group not unreasonably entitled 'Hey, Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!' now sports over 110,000 members.

The group was originally set up in September 2007, when Facebook first had an attack of the squeams and began yanking pictures of nursing mothers. At the time it released a stiff statement explaining that breastfeeding pictures were a-okay so long as the funbags being used for their primary natural purpose kept within the site's terms of use. "Photos containing a fully exposed breast do violate those Terms and could be removed," it pointed out.

This time a rather fluffier approach to angry-mom placation is in evidence, with spokesman Barry Schnitt gushing to The Telegraph "We agree that breastfeeding is natural and beautiful and we're very glad to know that it is so important to some mothers to share this experience with others on Facebook," before reiterating that "Photos containing a fully exposed breast - as defined by showing the nipple or areola - do violate [the site's] terms on obscene, pornographic or sexually explicit material and may be removed." It's all about thinking of the children, see.

"The photos we act upon are almost exclusively brought to our attention by other users who complain," Schnitt added with only a slight whiff of corporate passive-aggression. There was no suggestion that such users could be a little underpowered in the brain dept, and possibly subconsciously jealous, having been fobbed off with the bottle themselves; and clearly we would never imply such a thing.

Mothers have been striking back by posting bundles more breastfeeding pics in a 'nurse-in' protest led by Mothers International Lactation Campaign (geddit?). Meanwhile bloggers such as Canadian breastfeeding 'lactivist' Karen Speed, who was apparently booted off Facebook for showing too much boob, have been having a good old go.

The baps-out brouhaha has previously caused similar grief for other sites. Back in 2006 emo-tastic mope-hub LiveJournal had a queasy moment, and in February 2007 limping teen-oriented social network MySpace started pulling breastfeeding pics too. But as the latest controversy shows the internet has failed to nip this problem in the bud, etc. ®

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