Tech

Woman Complains Facebook Banned Her Viral Video Of Mothers Giving Birth

Photo: WALTRAUD GRUBITZSCH/AFP/Getty Images

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor

Monet Moutrie, a photographer focused on human birth, says Facebook removed an extremely popular video showing mothers’ first encounters with their respective children, as well as her personal account.

The video, which racked up more than 100 million views, was uploaded seven months before it was ultimately taken down with no notice, according to Moutrie.

“Yesterday evening, as I was nursing my daughter, I got logged out of Facebook,” Moutrie wrote on a blog post. “As soon as it happened, I knew what it meant. I logged back in and was prompted to go through all of my photos and to select any with nudity,” she continued, implying that she was regularly forced to comply with the social media’s content-policing processes. “Of course, there was none. And then I received the news.”

She continued:

The video I created for Birth Becomes Her in May…the video that went viral and was viewed over 100 million times…the video that had been shared by Cosmopolitan, PopSugar, ErgoBaby, Midwifery Today, Huffington Post…the video that depicted people of all backgrounds giving birth to their babies…the video that contained NO EXPLICIT nudity…was gone. Removed for violating community standards. And I was effectively banned from Facebook because of it.

Facebook enumerates its many policies, which it partially describes as “encouraging respectful behavior,” and states that it restricts “the display of nudity and sexual activity because some audiences within our global community may be sensitive to this type of content — particularly because of their cultural background or age.”

More explicitly, it says that it removes “photographs of people displaying genitals or focusing in on fully exposed buttocks.” Facebook also restricts “some images of female breasts if they include the nipple, but our intent is to allow images that are shared for medical or health purposes.”

Moutrie is “saddened and quite honestly scared” of Facebook’s interpretation and implementation of its policies because she says none of her content violates such rules. She worries that “the important work we’re doing will be stifled and hidden behind false statements like ‘community’ … because there is nothing more antithetical to community than the restriction and censorship of birth, family and life.”

Facebook, and tech companies in general, have been accused of instances of censorship many times in recent months and years.

In an exclusive story from The Daily Caller News Foundation, Libertarian nonprofit The Atlas Society says its page on Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) was taken down with little to no explanation in an apparent act of censorship. Instagram refutes that it took down the account itself.

The Swedish Cancer Society was forced to change an instructional breast examination video by making the animated boobs square-shaped after Facebook censored its content.

Facebook eventually apologized for the removal, saying “Its team processes millions of advertising images each week, and in some instances we incorrectly prohibit ads.”

And there are many more examples. (RELATED: Facebook Removed This Small Town Business’s Ads For American Flags Because It Sells Guns)

“Facebook, we are far more than usernames and passwords. We are living and breathing human beings, with real bodies, that were ALL born from real women,” Moutrie affirmed. “Have we reached a point in our obsession with apps and usernames that we’ve forgotten that behind our pixelated screens are real bodies that breathe and beat and love and birth and eventually die?”

“We’re very sorry about this mistake,” a spokeswoman for Facebook told TheDCNF.

“We know that it’s important for mothers to be able to share their experiences with others on Facebook. The video was removed in error and restored as soon as we were able to investigate. Our team processes millions of reports each week, and sometimes we get things wrong,” she continued, echoing past statements made by the company.

The article has been updated to reflect Facebook’s insight.

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