Facebook Deletes Breastfeeding Support Group 'The Leaky B@@b'

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Some breastfeeding groups can be hardcore, as often they're a place for moms to release stress and rant about things outside their control. Others can be debate groups, where moms debate the health of breastfeeding versus the need for formula. But there are some groups that are honestly just for support -- and don't condone arguing, trolls, fights, insults, or anything other than a comforting and helpful community feeling.

The Leaky B@@b is one of these groups, or I guess, was.

Facebook deleted it, with nothing more than a "Removed for violation of TOS."

The leader of this group, Jessica, is a super-sweet woman who I adore, and she's always prided herself on having a group that is just supportive, and really intolerant of bullying or harassment. While not an incredibly large and famous group, "TLB" is a very important safe place for many a woman, who has gone there for advice, comfort, laughs, or just companionship.

Scrolling through the archives of posts showed question after question from moms, moms-to-be, family members, or anyone who is interested in breastfeeding education, support, and success.

And yet because of some random person who hit the "report" button, it's all gone -- all the answered posts, all the pictures, all the support, all the wisdom of many women. And Facebook can't even give an answer a little more helpful than this:

"Your Page 'The Leaky B@@b' has been removed for violating our Terms of Use. A Facebook Page is a distinct presence used solely for business or promotional purposes. Among other things, Pages that are hateful, threatening, or obscene are not allowed. We also take down Pages that attack an individual or group, or that are set up by an unauthorized individual. If your Page was removed for any of the above reasons, it will not be reinstated. Continued misuse of Facebook's features could result in the permanent loss of your account."

Technically, pages like this are promotions of the blogs of the owners, so that's not an issue. CafeMom has multiple pages for different parts of The Stir, even a fanpage set up for individual authors (including me), and I've got a Facebook page for one of my personal blogs, as do many other people.

So we're still left going, "Huh?" Was it a member's picture they posted to TLB's wall? Wouldn't that be the fault of the individual who posted it, not the whole group? Was it a thread, a discussion? Again, wouldn't it make more sense to delete the individual offensive thread rather than one whole page? After all, I've seen people post some seriously vicious and nasty things on our own CafeMom Facebook page, but that's not our fault, right? You can't blame open-member pages for one random troll or angry person.

Two Facebook pages popped up almost instantly: TLB Support and Bring back The Leaky Boob. The latter is at almost 6,000 likes in a mere 24 hours, if that shows the amount of support TLB has from its fellow "Leakies," the affectionate term for the regulars of TLB Facebook page and blog.

Yes, I know that Facebook is rather well-known at this point for being ridiculously unfair to breastfeeding moms, so if you're thinking it should have been expected, maybe you're right. However, Facebook's ease-of-use, mobility (even for those without computers), and accessibility for people all over the world make it a unique and invaluable asset to any community, and well worth the risk. And of course, it's understood that it's a private company with their own rules that they can make up on the fly ... but the problem is, they don't even know their own rules, much less set out clear guidelines for anyone to follow. Time and time again, they very clearly have allowed risque and racy pictures of underage girls (showing way more breast than breastfeeding moms) remain on display, despite people hitting "report." They've let some seriously sick or twisted groups remain active, again despite complaints.

If they would make up some clear rules, people would follow them, or at least not be shocked if they didn't and the offensive item was removed. But as of right now, a large community is left scrambling to reconnect, trying to figure out what in the world they did wrong, what was so bad that an entire group with a long history of support and love had to be deleted with nothing more than an ambiguous, non-descript form message.

If you want to help support The Leaky B@@b, and thereby help support moms, and encourage Facebook to stop being hypocritical and actually make some solid rules or even just explain what was broken in the first place, there are many ways to help out. Join the two groups linked above, and check out TLB's blog for many other ways to help as well.

Do you think it's fair that Facebook removes entire accounts, groups and profiles with nothing more than a non-descript form letter?


Image via Bring Back the Leaky Boob/Facebook

breastfeeding, discrimination, web