Post-mastectomy photos to stay, says Facebook

Chalk one up for breast cancer awareness. Facebook has clarified its policy against nudity to accept photos of men and women who have undergone mastectomies. The revised policy was published after an online petition urging the social networking giant to stop censoring such pictures received more than 21,000 signatures.

Under a “Warning” section of its Help page, Facebook clarified its stance on post-mastectomy images of women: “Yes. We agree that undergoing a mastectomy is a life-changing experience and that sharing photos can help raise awareness about breast cancer and support the men and women facing a diagnosis, undergoing treatment, or living with the scars of cancer. The vast majority of these kinds of photos are compliant with our policies.”

Images of breast cancer survivors will now be allowed by Facebook (Image Credit: The SCAR Project on Facebook)

Images of breast cancer survivors will now be allowed by Facebook (Image credit: The SCAR Project on Facebook)


However, Facebook continued, photos with fully exposed breasts, particularly if they’re unaffected by surgery, is still a strict no-no. These images will still be in violation of Facebook’s Terms. “These policies are based on the same standards which apply to television and print media, and that govern sites with a significant number of young people,” clarifies Facebook.

This new policy has come into force after Scorchy Barrington, a woman who is battling Stage IV breast cancer, took to to petition against Facebook removing post-mastectomy topless images. The petition specifically pertains to images of cancer survivors who had been shot by photographer David Jay for the SCAR Project.

Facebook had apparently been removing photos from the Project’s page. The social networking website had asked Anne Marie Giannino-Otis from Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer to remove post-mastectomy pictures from her page too, citing violation of the site’s policy. Now 21,443 signatures later, Barrington and her supporters are claiming victory.

“After thousands of people signed my petition, Facebook’s policy team told me they are committed to clearing up any internal or external confusion regarding images of mastectomy and have clarified their policy,” she wrote in an update to her petition “From now on, these powerful visual testaments to the real impact of breast cancer and the resilience of breast cancer survivors will be welcomed on Facebook, as they should be.”

Published Date: Jun 14, 2013 02:02 pm | Updated Date: Jun 14, 2013 02:02 pm