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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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