Facebook: When you care enough to show the very breast

Facebook's ban on nursing pix is blowing up in its face -- more proof that Net censorship invariably leads to trouble. Cringe has more.

Yet another social media site has waded into the treacherous waters of deciding what is and isn't obscene and ended up with egg on its face -- or in this case, breast milk.

Last month Facebook decided that posting photos of babies sucking happily at their mothers' bosoms were naughty, not nice, and banned them from the site. Boy was that a mistake.

Angry moms immediately formed a Facebook protest group that now boasts nearly 160,000 members. Sharon Kennedy Wynne of Tampabay.com's Whoa, Momma! blog writes:

The first five days of the year, the group was getting 10,000 new members a day. That's about the number of people who defiantly posted breastfeeding photos online that day. There was artwork of Mary nursing Jesus, of cows nursing their calves and lots of Mommas feeding their babies, Stephanie Knapp Muir, one of the organizers, told me. But she was peppered with complaints that many had their photos removed and a terse letter from Facebook warning them not to do it again or risk losing their membership to the site.

Other bloggers took up the call; Google "Facebook breastfeeding" and you'll get more than 2 million hits. Now the ticked-off moms are building a mosaic of breastfeeding photos that organizers say will ultimately feature 100,000 images.

Personally, I'd rather tussle with a grizzly or a great white than with an angry mother of a newborn. And yet Facebook refuses to back down.

OK, I'll just say it, because you expect it: What total boobs those people are. If Facebook had simply asked the moms to mark these pictures as private, or limit access to adult family members, this whole controversy could have been nipped in the bud. Now thousands of ticked-off moms are nursing a grudge against the service.

And yes, I am milking this topic for jokes. (Have I missed any?)

The bigger issue of course is Net censorship. Trying to define obscenity is like trying to drive a nail through a bar of wet soap while wearing roller skates. Nobody wants Facebook to turn into a porn palace (except maybe the porn industry) but why it's picking on lactating moms is a complete mystery. If watching a suckling babe in arms gets you all warm and wiggly, you have bigger problems.

And it will very likely backfire. Instead of Facebook banning moms, they might just decide to leave the service en masse. You might even call that offering tit for tat.

Got more awful puns or awesome opinions? Post them below or e-mail me: cringe (at) infoworld (dot) com.

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