Facebook Won't Remove Mastectomy Photos…Unless It Feels Like It


Here’s another tally for the “maybe Facebook is run by decent human beings” column: In response to a petition by breast cancer patient Scorchy Barrington, Facebook officials have clarified their position on moderating post-mastectomy photos.

They totally get why mastectomy photos are important (and also why breastfeeding photos aren’t porny), and they promise to try not to take them down…unless they accidentally take them down. Or a bunch of people complain. Or they aren’t surgery-y enough. Oh, and also they never really wanted to take them down in the first place (while leaving up graphic images of battered women captioned with hee-larious rape apologia)—it’s just that all your grannies wouldn’t quit cryin’! Don’t be mad at Facebook—BE MAD AT YOUR GRANNIES.

Whatever they’re trying to say—hey, progress!

Via the Chicago Tribune:

“We have long allowed mastectomy photos to be shared on Facebook, as well as educational and scientific photos of the human body and photos of women breastfeeding.
“We only review or remove photos after they have been reported to us by people who see the images in their News Feeds or otherwise discover them. On occasion, we may remove a photo showing mastectomy scarring either by mistake, as our teams review millions of pieces of content daily, or because a photo has violated our terms for other reasons.”
The social networking site has also posted the following statement:
“We agree that undergoing a mastectomy is a life-changing experience and that sharing photos can help raise awareness about breast cancer and support the men and women facing a diagnosis, undergoing treatment, or living with the scars of cancer. The vast majority of these kinds of photos are compliant with our policies.
“However, photos with fully exposed breasts, particularly if they’re unaffected by surgery, do violate Facebook’s Terms.”

For the grillionth time: the existence of a woman’s body does not = porn. The topless taboo for women is complete arbitrary bullshit, and nothing highlights that more perfectly than these issues around mastectomies. So good on you, Facebook, for whatever it’s worth. Now you just have to follow through.

Image via Flaxphotos/Shutterstock.

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