21 Oct 2016
How a cancer group thwarted Facebook’s censorship: square breasts
Swedish Cancer Society’s original video, with animated images and information on how to conduct breast exams, was taken down by Facebook this week
The Swedish Cancer Society has come up with a new strategy to evade Facebook’s censorship of female anatomy: make round breasts square.
The not-for-profit organization’s breast cancer awareness video, featuring animated images and information on how to conduct breast exams, was taken down by Facebook this week.
Facebook’s explanation for the deletion was, “Your ad can not market sex products or services nor adults products or services,” the organization told the Guardian.
Facebook subsequently apologized for banning the video, saying in a statement to the Guardian: “We’re very sorry, our team processes millions of advertising images each week, and in some instances we incorrectly prohibit ads. This image does not violate our ad policies. We apologize for the error and have let the advertiser know we are approving their ads.”
In response to the censorship, the group issued an open letter to Facebook that features a revised cartoon image. This time, the pair of breasts, areolae, and nipples are constructed of pink squares rather than pink circles.
The “breast self-examination school” was “not meant to offend”, the organization states, adding:
We understand that you have to have rules about the content published on your platform. But you must also understand that one of our main tasks is to disseminate important information about cancer – in this case breast cancer.
After trying to meet your control for several days without success, we have now come up with a solution that will hopefully make you happy: Two pink squares!
This can not possibly offend you, or anyone. Now we can continue to spread our important breast school without upsetting you.
“Facebook has removed a video on breast cancer awareness posted in Sweden after deeming the images offensive, the Swedish Cancer Society said on Thursday.
The video, displaying animated figures of women with circle-shaped breasts, was aimed at explaining to women how to check for suspicious lumps.
Sweden’s Cancerfonden said it had tried in vain to contact Facebook, and had decided to appeal against the decision to remove the video.
Facebook was not immediately available for comment.”