Social networking giant Facebook has stirred up a new controversy with nursing mothers after deleting a page, dedicated to breastfeeding and followed by thousands, over the weekend for violating the terms of service.
The page has an online support group where mothers can swap tips and which provides an emotional crutch for anyone struggling to cope with the demands of a nursing child.
The move is the latest in a series of clashes between the website and breastfeeding mothers, particularly those who have posted photos of themselves nursing their child, reports the Independent.
Facebook has a history of classifying breastfeeding photos as ‘obscene content’ and removing them from users’ online albums.
A row in 2008 caused the site to be deluged with nursing shots; the ‘Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene’ group has around 260,000 members.
Facebook deleted the page, telling its founder Jessica Martin-Weber that her page had ‘violated its terms of service’ and explained that ‘hateful, threatening, or obscene [pages] were not allowed’.
It then put it back up on Tuesday, saying its deletion was a ‘mistake’.
The page was again removed on the same night, although it was back on Wednesday.
In the meantime, several other groups, including TLB Support and Bring Back the Leaky Boob, popped up to support the page.
Meanwhile, Martin-Weber issued a statement in her website to defend her page.
“Many women don't have other resources if they have a question in the middle of the night, or don''t know where else to go for referrals to help,” she said.
“People may feel breasts are so sexualised that they can''t accept it''s a natural thing to do. Breastfeeding is natural, but that doesn''t necessarily mean it comes naturally. You need support to keep going. It''s a sensitive issue and while I personally wouldn''t post a picture of myself breastfeeding, if people want to they should be able to,” said Jill Taylor, a London-based mother of two who is nursing her 14-week-old son Billy.