Yesterday we shared some exciting news: Facebook has finally agreed to allow images of women breastfeeding to remain on the social network. Yes, even if their nipple is exposed in the process. The caveat? The woman must be actively engaged in baby feeding at the time.
It's a big step for the social networking site, which has consistently deleted images of mums breastfeeding - all while allowing users to post and freely share sexualised images of topless or semi-topless women - since the site's inception.
The Facebook post was very well received, with 4943 likes, 805 shares and 185 comments, most of which were positive.
As the story was such a hit, we decided to push it further by promoting the post (that is, creating a Facebook ad using the same picture and wording). I emailed my marketing manager with the information yesterday afternoon. We're frequent users of Facebook's ad services and have never had a problem ... until this morning.
Overnight, Facebook deemed that our post was unsuitable for promotion. Did it feature sexist, racist or offensive content? Nope, just a picture of a breastfeeding baby, which sits squarely within the new FB guidelines.
We've appealed the decision.
It seems absurd that a post which positively promotes Facebook's own policy decisions should be rejected. The very reason that campaigns such as #freethenipple and #normalisebreastfeeding have been created are help increase breastfeeding rates by spreading the message that breastfeeding is normal and natural. This image is normal and natural.
As for that "excessive amount of skin"? Skin-to-skin contact is encouraged between mothers and babies - not just when there are feeding issues, but to regulate a baby's temperature, blood sugar levels and mood.
When contacted for comment, a Facebook staff member told us that "ads are manually vetted so it appears this may be a human error". We are awaiting further clarification, but as of the time of writing, our ad has still not appeared.
There may be a problem with the sexualisation of women on social media, but pictures like this aren't part of the problem. Come on, Facebook - it's time to free the nipple for real.