This is one small step for the nipple, and one giant leap for mankind.
Facebook has long censored images of breastfeeding on its site, removing entire posts and pages at the slightest hint of a new mom’s bare chest. But the company recently reversed its stance on the controversial topic.
Per The Huffington Post's Soraya Chemaly, who first discovered the subtle change Monday:
“Two weeks ago, if a photograph of an actively breastfeeding mother with nipples exposed was shared in Facebook, that photograph would have violated the company’s guidelines regarding nudity and obscenity and been removed. According to my conversations with Facebook spokespeople, as the result of a quiet policy change made two weeks ago, that is no longer the case. ”
The company has now updated the breastfeeding section of its Help page accordingly:
"Does Facebook allow photos of mothers breastfeeding? Yes. We agree that breastfeeding is natural and beautiful and we’re glad to know that it’s important for mothers to share their experiences with others on Facebook."
Previously, these images were being removed by Facebook moderators who fielded complaints of “nudity and pornography,” without actually assessing the explicit feel of the photos.
To test the new policy, mommy blogger Paala Secor posted a photo of her breastfeed for her thousands of Facebook followers to see, with a caption that read “We are proud to nourish our babies with our breasts and we will not be shamed for it … We are mothers and we are strong. We are equal,” accompanied by the hashtag #FreeTheNipple, which is meant to squash the stigmatism around breastfeeding in public.
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the change in stance, telling the Verge that "The vast majority of these photos are compliant with our policies."
Hey, it’s no Google Hangout breastfeeding lesson, but it’s progress.