Facebook Apologizes For Banning Mother's 'Offensive' Photos Of Terminally Ill Baby

Mon, May 21, 2012 9:33am EDT by 19 Comments
Facebook Bans Mother

The social networking site offers a formal apology for temporarily banning a Tennessee mom for posting photos of her son born with a rare birth defect. Do YOU think Facebook should have taken taken the photos off?

After Heather Walker‘s photos of her newborn were flagged as “offensive” and removed by Facebook for no clear reason under their content guidelines, outraged masses have gathered in Heather’s support. The company has since issued a statement and admitted to making a mistake.

“Upon investigation, we concluded the photo does not violate our guidelines and was removed in error,” Facebook wrote in an official statement. “Facebook is a place where almost a billion people share more than 300 million photos a day. Our dedicated Users Operations Team reviews millions of pieces of this content a day to help keep Facebook safe for all ages. Our policies are enforced by a team of reviewers in several offices across the globe. This team looks at hundreds of thousands of reports every week, and as you might expect, occasionally, we make a mistake and remove a piece of content we shouldn’t have. We extend our deepest condolences to the family and we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience.”

Baby Grayson James Walker was born with Anencephaly, a rare birth defect in which babies are born without parts of their brain and skull. He died eight hours after on February 15. Heather used the social networking site to share memories of her son to her family and friends but Facebook had deleted the images shortly after. After repeated efforts to upload photos and then making protests directly to the site, the company had temporarily banned the mom from usage.

Facebook explained that Heather was never suspended from the site. Instead, she was blocked automatically, as anyone else would be when they are flagged for inappropriate content.

Facebook’s community standards prohibit nine types of content from the site, including: Violence and Threats, Self-Harm, Bullying and Harassment, Hate Speech, Graphic Violence, Nudity and Pornography, Identity and Privacy, Intellectual Property and Phishing and Spam.

Do YOU think Facebook was right in banning Heather, HollyMoms?

– Lorraine Chow

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Meanderly

Posted at 9:02 PM on June 19, 2012  

Oh Melanie, you remind me of a neighbor I used to have, what with ignorance being bliss to both of you. Maybe you have everybody and their mother on your FB, however I keep my restricted to family and immediate friends, maybe this mother does too. Who are you to say it’s in bad taste for her to share a moment of her life with her friends and family? Are you this woman’s personal friend to be that offended by it? If you are, that’s a conversation to have in person, not to belittle her on a comment board. Considering that the account holder has the ability to make their photos as public or private as they like, Facebook was in the wrong. You as a person have the ability to not look at a picture. It’s not like strangers pictures randomly appear as pop ups.

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Kayleigh

Posted at 1:24 AM on June 12, 2012  

So some people on here are actually saying that just because their son was born with birth defects, and just because he lived such a short time, that they shouldn’t be allowed to share the few photos they have with their friends list on Facebook? So… if someone has a disabled child who just happens to live to say, their mid-twenties… should they just delete all the photos of them off Facebook at that point? Where do you draw the line?

Point is there is NOTHING wrong with these pictures, and nothing wrong with sharing them. If pictures of someone else’s child who sadly did not survive disturb you that much, you need to look within yourself to solve that issue. It’s NOT their problem, nor should it be.

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Kyra

Posted at 9:29 PM on June 7, 2012  

I am so glad that I have been able to share photos of my daughters life. I have photos on there of her straight after heart surgery and even photos taken in the hours after her death and at the funeral home which was the onlyplace my older children got to cuddle her.

Some people are just too sensitive for their own good. If you can’t cope with a photo of a little one who is so obviously loved but had the misfortune of being born with a complex and fatal congenital defect, then they should just look away.

My daughter’s photos are all I have of her. In her 9 days of life she didn’t wear any clothing, wasn’t wrapped in a blanket – I have nothing else that belongs to her. If they were to be taken away I would be devastated!

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Jessie

Posted at 10:36 PM on June 5, 2012  

I think people should note that someone had to have flagged the photo first for it to be considered for review, someone that had access to the photo and felt it was inappropriate for the website. To a point it isn’t that large of issue. If people want to see the images of the baby badly enough and they couldn’t see it on Facebook all she had to do was email the photos to anyone who wanted to see.

The photo shown is appropriate by all means but others may have been disturbing for others to look at, not everyone of their friends lists may have felt comfortable looking at the images.

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Jackie

Posted at 12:14 PM on June 5, 2012  

I think that what this couple does is their business and if they wish to post pictures of their precious little gift on THEIR facebook page that is their right to do so. They aren’t expoliting him but showing him off to their friends and family who will never be able to see him otherwise. Regardless of the “abnormalities” of that baby, he was and is a part of them. For those of you who think it is offensive…..don’t look at it! It’s that simple!

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Melanie

Posted at 10:18 AM on June 5, 2012  

I think this is in poor taste. Its nice they could get photos of their son to cherish in their OWN time, but to make him just another commodity on facebook to be “liked” is rather gross. Essentially they are exploiting their dead, deformed son. It’s inappropriate to be showing these tender, intimate pictures with the hundreds of acquaintances they have on facebook.

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J

Posted at 9:38 AM on June 6, 2012  

… but it’s okay tasteful and okay to post pictures of tender moments with a “perfectly healthy” newborn baby?? Hate to break it to you, but not every child is born perfect. Any moment a parent can spend with their child is a blessing and I think it is beautiful that they are proud to share that moment with anyone they may have on their list. Rip beautiful boy.

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come on people

Posted at 8:14 PM on June 11, 2012  

Oh Melanie how naive you are….I find it amazing that you even have the audacity to say that they are exploiting their son. The are sharing a moment of love with anyone who wants to see it…i find these photos heart warming. What is exploitation are the millions of people who think its great to post photos of them pounding beers or being completely wasted at a party…Isn’t that more inappropriate??? How about the 15 year old girls on there posting photos of themselves dressed like little whores followed by comments like “Man your Fuking hawt!!!!! I’d hit that!!!” Isn’t that much more damaging exploitation?? Next time you feel like judging someone how about your turn that finger on half of your friends list

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AMKnight

Posted at 1:40 PM on June 28, 2012  

Melanie, you are freaking ridiculous. Posting a picture of your child is not making them a commodity… perhaps they have family far away that never would have a chance to meet baby Grayson and they wanted to share a photo with them. You are showing your dead and deformed sense of humanity by being so callous and judging these parents. Shame on you!

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stephanie

Posted at 1:02 AM on May 27, 2012  

i think this picture is so precios. you can see the baby is not ok sadly.. yet the parents look like they adore that baby in her arms. :( rip lil baby.

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stephanie

Posted at 1:03 AM on May 27, 2012  

*precious

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Amber

Posted at 12:27 PM on May 22, 2012  

I find you offensive and heartless!

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Miranda

Posted at 10:44 AM on May 22, 2012  

For those making comments that its wrong or find it offensive i want to see you lose one of your children the only pictures i have of my daugther is after she was gone because my little girl was born without a heartbeat and i knew it before i had her to ban pictures like that from facebook is wrong on so many levels until you lose a child i think you got no right to say anything againist this family the hell they already going though lossing there son like this then fb acts stupid and doesnt even check it out before remove it worry about the sickos on there fb security instead of parents who have lose there child and have there pictures up

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Jessie

Posted at 10:39 PM on June 5, 2012  

I hope you realize at the same time their photos do impact others. We’ve all seen the shocking photos that some share of dying babies or injured animals that are disturbing to some people to look at, if someone was reminded of their own lost child or just found it disturbing then it impacted them negatively. We can’t see how graphic some of the photos may have been but this one is appropriate. This was not the end of the world, relatives and friends could have been emailed the photos if they requested to view them.

I don’t approve of Facebook for deleting the one shown above but I can’t judge on any other photos deleted.

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Jo

Posted at 10:05 AM on May 22, 2012  

You find some kind of physical deformation Offensive? Really? Wow He is a baby, their son NO MATTER how he looks.
Facebook, the baby pictures are offensive according to your policy But it is ok to publish “almost naked” pictures on Facebook? GIVE ME A BREAK!

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cherry78

Posted at 4:22 AM on May 22, 2012  

i do find them offensive

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Kat

Posted at 11:03 PM on May 21, 2012  

I am more interested to know who flagged/reported it

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Melanie

Posted at 5:30 PM on May 21, 2012  

That’s facebook for ya. They don’t look at the material that is being reported. You get reported and you are automatically banned. There is no investigation at all.

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Sue

Posted at 2:37 PM on May 21, 2012  

I had a son 29 years ago with anencephaly who did not survive at all. I never saw him or held him. I wish I had photos of him, I would have shared them with everyone too. I think it’s great that the Walkers have done this, it is a great tribute to his short life. He was born a person & their son, it’s wonderful they have these memories with him & they can share them with people. To the Walker family….I’m so sorry for your loss.

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