Breastfeeding Advocates Protest Outside Facebook Offices

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A group of moms protested outside Facebook offices around the world on Monday, charging that the social network has repeatedly taken down photos that show mothers breastfeeding their babies.

The site even disabled the accounts of some moms who had uploaded the nursing pictures, the group claimed.

"A woman is protected to breastfeed her child wherever she is legally allowed," said Emma Kwasnica, a mid-wife and breastfeeding advocate who helped spearhead the nurse-in. "Health experts are always pushing women to breastfeed, but we're constantly seeing road blocks like this."

Kwasnica implored Facebook to train their staff to better decipher what is and what isn't appropriate content. She also asked that the social networking giant build stronger ties to their clients, so that there is a point of contact for clients in case errors such as these continue to arise.

Breastfeeding photos are allowed to be uploaded to the social networking site, but if another Facebook user flags a photo as inappropriate it may be taken down, according to a company spokesperson.

In the course of processing more than one billion photos per day, employees are bound to make a mistake once in a while when determining what is and is not appropriate, Facebook said.

Kwasnica said dozens of her photos have been flagged since she joined Facebook in 2007.  Her personal page has been disabled four times due to breastfeeding pictures.

A spokesperson for the site said Facebook is glad that mothers and their families, including many who work at Facebook, use the site to share their parenting experiences, including breastfeeding their children.

"By uploading photos, joining groups, and engaging with different organizations, these families are able to share and connect on a very important topic, and we are thrilled they are using Facebook to do so," a Facebook spokesperson said. "When it comes to uploaded photos on Facebook, the vast majority of breastfeeding photos comply with our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, which closely mirrors the policy that governs broadcast television."

"Facebook receives hundreds of thousands of reports every week, and as you might expect, occasionally we make a mistake and remove a piece of content we shouldn't," the company said.

When this happens, employees at the social network quickly work to address an error by apologizing to those affected and making any necessary changes to the processes to ensure the same type of mistakes do not continue to be made, the company said.  The site encourages people to re-upload the photos they believe were removed in error.

But, Kwasnica said she receives messages nearly every day from other mothers who have been blocked or suspended from Facebook due to their breastfeeding photos.

"If it is truly because of employee errors, it happens so much that it seems that Facebook has lost control of its network," Kwasnica said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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