Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Open Letter to Mark Zuckerberg

Dear Mr Zuckerberg,

I am writing you to suggest that you hold an immediate briefing session with your official spokespeople to better advise them on a more accurate and truthful response to the many media inquiries you have recently received regarding Facebook's policy of removing breastfeeding images from user profiles and group albums on your site.

The current statements from your company regarding this policy are unclear and false. A much better approach might be something along the lines of:

"Facebook is a global and dynamic social networking tool with 140 000 000 users world wide. Though we are aware of our rapidly changing demographic which now includes many parents, we are uncomfortable with the idea of breastfeeding images on our site, so we will continue to remove them arbitrarily.

Though we do allow many applications and paid advertisements that contain sexually explicit material, and have no policy regarding male nipples or areola, we believe that female nipples and areola are dangerous to our users, regardless of whether this is logical, rational, legal or fair. Although technically, according to our written terms of service and Facebook's code of conduct it nowhere states this, we feel strongly that images of female breasts in the context of breastfeeding with any amount of areola or nipple showing (and in fact several that show none at all) are inappropriate on our site. We have, therefore, chosen to remain firm in our stance that breastfeeding images are objectionable, offensive, akin to pornography and thus harmful to other users of the site. We have to "draw the line" somewhere afterall, and we have chosen to draw it along gender lines.

Regardless of the ample proof which exists that social stigmatizing and suppression of breastfeeding has a negative impact on breastfeeding initiation and duration rates, and being aware that the United States has some of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world, we remain comfortable taking any responsibility for contributing to this stigma, and have no plans to change our practice of removing breastfeeding images from our site.

Despite also, the fact there are several local, state and national laws which prevent breastfeeding women from falling victim to this exact form of discrimination, we are more comfortable operating our site above the law, and will continue to behave in this discriminatory way.

"Just a suggestion Mark...


Stephanie Muir

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Really I am not very impressed with the way facebook has treated breastfeeding.

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