Facebook’s nudity policy challenged by Breast cancer survivors

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Facebook is currently  facing the heat from a group of breast cancer survivors accusing the social networking site of removing content that could help women.

The Scar Project is a series of portraits of breast cancer survivors by photographer David Jay who has been working on it the last seven years, and has posted his images in Facebook for the last five. Facebook has deleted some of Jay’s photos in the past and suspended his account for 30 days for violating the site’s nudity policy. But Jay decided to use actress Angelina Jolie’s recent mastectomy story to highlight The Scar Project, reposting dozens of old portraits. Some of those photos were deleted within days, and Jay was again suspended.

One of Jay’s readers, a breast cancer warrior named Scorchy Barrington, recently started a Change.org petition asking Facebook to rethink its policy on photos of women showing their mastectomy scars. More than 8000 supporters backed Barrington’s petition.

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Facebook’s policy allows post-mastectomy photos that don’t show fully exposed breasts. That means no nipples allowed. Facebook says its policy is similar to that of major TV networks and print news organizations and is intended to protect the site’s large number of teen users.

Someone must have found them offensive, because Facebook doesn’t keep track of every photo posted to its site. The network relies on users to report inappropriate content. Facebook employees then evaluate the photos.

“The problem here is nipple,” Jay says. “We’re terrified, apparently, of a woman’s breasts. Somehow the nipple signifies the end of the world.”