Mothers Protest Facebook for Removing Breastfeeding Photos

March 19, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. advocate (n.) – a person who speaks or acts in support of a goal or a movement
ExampleAdvocates for justice make posters about the fair treatment of all people.

2. inappropriate (adj.) – not suitable or fit in a certain situation
Example: Interrupting someone’s speech is inappropriate.

3. stigmatize (v.) – to mark something as bad or shameful
Example: Women who work are stigmatized in some strict countries.

4. platform (n.) – a place for public discussion or exchange of ideas
Example: The Internet is a good platform to share ideas on world news.

5. liken (v.) – to compare something as similar to another
Example: They likened the colorful painting to a real photograph

Read the text below.

Advocates for breastfeeding protested outside Facebook offices in different countries. They accused the social network of repeatedly removing uploaded pictures that show mothers breastfeeding their babies.

According to childbirth and breastfeeding educator Emma Kwasnica, who helped organize the protest group, breastfeeding is natural and mothers are allowed to do this wherever it is legal. She says that doctors always encourage women to breastfeed, but platforms such as Facebook only further stigmatize breastfeeding.

In response to the protests, a Facebook spokesperson said the social network allows breastfeeding photos to be uploaded, and that these pictures do not usually break any policy. However, if another Facebook user reports a photo as inappropriate the photo can be removed.

The company also defended itself, saying it gets hundreds of thousands of reports about inappropriate content every week. Staff may sometimes make mistakes and remove pictures that are good to use. Facebook added it is happy that its service is used to discuss important parenting issues, including breastfeeding.

But Kwasnica believes employees are not just making mistakes. Dozens of her breastfeeding photos have been removed since 2007. Facebook has even closed her account four times. Until now, she receives messages from other mothers who've had similar experiences. She hopes Facebook can improve its system to prevent the same errors from happening to the same clients.

Other health experts also do not want people to think of breastfeeding in a negative way because of its health benefits for babies. Susan Burger of the New York Lactation Consultant Association likens breastfeeding babies to people who are normally eating. She says Facebook does not remove photos of people eating, so it should not remove photos of babies eating either.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A 
      Do you think pictures of mothers breastfeeding their babies are inappropriate? Why or why not?
      How can advocates of breastfeeding support their cause without being inappropriate?

Discussion B

      How influential are social networks, like Facebook, in your country?
      Do you agree that some data in these websites should be controlled? Why or why not?


March 19, 2012