There seems to be an uproar once again over breastfeeding photos on Facebook. I just stumbled upon a new Facebook group called “If breastfeeding offends you put a blanket over your head.” The group has nearly 144,000 members. And it seems to be an offshoot of a group that formed in 2008, “Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene.” That group, you might remember, staged a virtual nurse-in when Facebook started taking down photos of moms breastfeeding. Here’s a post I wrote about it. And another post as well, after I was on the CBS Early Show discussing this story.
Andi in the news
Watch Andi on the CBS Early Show: Click here.
Watch Andi on The NBC NIGHTLY NEWS: Click here.
Watch Andi on THE TODAY SHOW: Click here.
So I wasn’t even going to turn my computer on tonight. I was not going to get sucked into the Internet vortex. I bet you can guess how that turned out…
Anyway… while watching the Olympics (Don’t you just cringe when the skaters fall?!) I set up a Facebook Fan page. So if you’d like, come become a fan and join the discussion. The page is called Mama Knows Breast.
Of course I had insomnia last night… and I NEVER have a problem sleeping. And I somehow managed to drop and crack my hair dryer this morning… but I made it to the CBS Early Show studio on time. It’s amazing how easy it is to get around Manhattan at 6:45 a.m.
If you were fortunate enough to be asleep at 7:40, here’s what you missed. The show did a story about the online protest of Facebook’s decision to ban some breastfeeding photos from the site. As of today, more than 95,000 people have joined the group “Hey Facebook, Breastfeeding is Not Obscene.” And during the virtual nurse in on December 27th, roughly 11,000 people put breastfeeding pictures on their Facebook pages. According to the protest organizers, the Mothers’ International Lactation Campaign (M.I.L.C.), Facebook is still pulling down some pictures. Here’s a link to those pics. And here’s the video from this morning’s show:
Watch CBS Videos Online
Facebook is clearly trying to have it both ways here. The site says it won’t take down all breastfeeding photos, just the ones that users complain about and that show a visible nipple. Does Facebook really want to put itself in this policing position?
A fun footnote to the day… I was on with media guru Jeff Jarvis who runs the blog Buzz Machine. (Waiting to see if he posts anything on this). He has a new book out called “What Would Google Do.” Today, maybe Facebook is asking itself the question, “What should we have done?”
I’m on my way back to NYC right now, getting ready to be on the CBS Early Show tomorrow morning. I’ll be talking about the Facebook breastfeeding photo controversy.
The segment is supposed to be on around 7:40 am. But things could change. So stay tuned, and leave a comment here if you have a thought you’d like me to share.
This is a post I’ve written for the NYC Moms Blog. It should appear on that site shortly.
I love Facebook. It helps me stay in touch with friends and find people I haven’t spoken to in years. It gives me a platform to promote my book and share my thoughts. And most importantly, it provides an unrivaled distraction and procrastination technique when I’m working.
But lately, Facebook has let me down. From what I understand, the site is removing breastfeeding photos that some moms want to put on their pages. And so, these moms are getting together for a cyber “nurse in.” They’re protesting Facebook’s policy on December 27th by changing their profile pictures to breastfeeding pictures. Some plan to even gather outside the Palo Alto offices.
Despite my general appreciation for all things Facebook, I changed my profile picture. And my husband did, too. We put up an illustration of a nursing mom. (The one photo we have of me nursing seems to be lost in the digital universe of my computer).
I think Facebook is missing a big opportunity here. Moms love to share pictures of their kids, and sometimes, that includes nursing photographs. And why not? Remember, humans are mammals. We breastfeed. It’s how we survived long before formula was invented. And so, we breastfeed at home and even in public. In fact, our right to breastfeed in public is protected by law in most states.
So what’s the big deal? Apparently Facebook is concerned about some photos, but not all. Here’s a statement Facebook gave to the New York Times.
It will be interesting to see if something changes as a result of the efforts of this group, the Mothers International Lactation Campaign. (Type either this phrase, or M.I.L.C. into the search bar on Facebook if you want to find it). Maybe it will. Maybe it won’t. Either way, this event has people talking about breastfeeding. And that, certainly, is a positive thing. Photos or no photos.
(As the day goes on, leave a comment here with a link to any news story you might find on this topic. Thanks!)
Another update: In addition to the virtual nurse in on Facebook, there is an actual nurse in at the Facebook offices in Palo Alto, CA.
Time: Saturday, Dec. 27th at 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
Place: 156 University Ave, Palo Alto, CA
An update… as you may have read here, some moms are planning a December 27th “nurse in” on Facebook. This is to protest apparent Facebook’s practice of removing some pictures of women breastfeeding.
Here’s a story from the New York Times, with a comment from Facebook management:
…Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt at about 4:30 EST today:
Poking around Facebook yesterday, I discovered a little bit of lactivism at work. Apparently, Facebook won’t let people post breastfeeding pictures. So some Facebooker’s are planning a virtual nurse-in, Saturday, December 27, 2008. They are going to all post breastfeeding pictures at the same time.
To sign up, go to Facebook, and type M.I.L.C. into the search bar. Mothers International Lactation Campaign should pop up. If you are having trouble finding it. Go to my Facebook page… look me up under Andi Silverman.
Here’s text of the petition:
Facebook continues to classify breastfeeding photos as obscene content. They continue to arbitrarily remove these photos from member albums and profiles, accompanied by warnings of account termination. This is highly discriminatory and an affront to nursing mothers everywhere. In protest of this, Mothers International Lactation Campaign (M.I.L.C.) has planned a virtual day of protest.
Not only is human lactation responsible for the very survival of our species, it is in no way a sexually explicit, lewd or despicable act. It is also protected by law in most countries, including specifically the state where Facebook is headquartered in the USA.
In protest to the discriminatory and unjust policy of Facebook administration classifying breastfeeding images as obscene content, on December 27th, 2008 M.I.L.C. is asking all of you to change your profile picture for one day, to one which includes an image of a nursing mom.
This could be a picture of you or someone you know nursing a child, it could be a painting or image of a sculpture of a breastfeeding woman, it could also be a photo or image of any nursing mammal….We ask that you include the status line of “Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!”
In addition to this ‘virtual nurse-in’, there will be other events planned around the globe. Please check this page often for regular updates and added information. We will also be including images that you can use for your profile picture on December 27th.
Babies everywhere thank you for your support!!!!!