Breastfeeding Moms Protest Facebook Photo Bans

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Breastfeeding moms hosted several "nurse-ins" at various Facebook offices to protest the company's ban of photos showing mothers nursing. About 60 protesters gathered at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., communicating their message that breastfeeding isn't obscene, says the San Francisco Chronicle. Here are details about the issue.

* Breastfeeding moms have been at odds with the social media network because Facebook administrators have banned several pro-nursing groups and user accounts.

* Some accounts were banned because moms posted photos of themselves nursing. Emma Kwasnica of British Columbia has had her Facebook account locked on 30 occasions since 2007. Other Facebook users had flagged her photos for being "obscene."

* In January, Express Yourself Mums, a Facebook group composed mostly of mothers in the United Kingdom, had its group page closed for "privacy violations" for showing these images, reports Parent Dish. Facebook apologized, saying it was an oversight and reinstated the page.

* The current fracas centers in part on founder Mark Zuckerberg launching an IPO for Facebook, the San Francisco Chronicle says. Earlier this month, Facebook announced it looked to connect the 2 billion Internet users and to sell $5 billion in stock, according to The Wall Street Journal. Part of the grooming process involves tighter accountability to its 845 million users and more censorship of user account activity, including photo sharing.

* According to KING 5 Seattle, breastfeeding advocates who staged a nurse-in in Seattle said censorship of their photos violates freedom of speech. Also, when asked why it would want to share private photos online, breastfeeding moms say it's part of their normal routine and similar to what Facebook users share: their daily activities.

* Early childhood consultant Sarah Rockwell, co-founder of the protest, takes it a step beyond freedom of expression. She says it's a public health issue and calls the photo-sharing and public nursing a healthy normalizing of breastfeeding. As long as nursing is kept taboo and that breasts are associated only with sexuality, mothers will be more reluctant breastfeed their babies.

* According to the Facebook protest page, nurse-ins were planned and held Monday and Tuesday outside other Facebook offices in the U.S. and around the world.

Marilisa Kinney Sachteleben writes about parenting issues from 23 years raising four children and 25 years teaching K-8, special needs, adult education and home-school.

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