Facebook Deletes Photos of Mom's Dying Baby & Shows Its Heartless Side Again

Oh, Facebook. Like banning breastfeeding photos wasn't bad enough, now they're under fire for deleting pictures that a mom posted of her dying baby boy.

Grayson was born on February 15 with anencephaly, a rare but fatal neural tube birth defect. His parents, who already knew about his condition, had arranged for a photographer to take pictures of him, knowing they had only a few precious hours before he passed away.

The photos are heartbreakingly beautiful to see: baby Grayson being held by family members, surrounded by love. Unbelievably, these are the same images Facebook deleted—before banning Grayson's mom Heather Walker from the site for 24 hours after she tried putting them up again.

Walker had posted the images to Facebook, some with Grayson wearing a hat, and others exposing the baby’s birth defect. Somehow, the images were flagged as offensive, and Facebook began taking down the photos. In protest, Walker attempted to repost them, which resulted in her being temporarily shut out.

More from The Stir: Heartless Facebook Bans Breast Cancer Survivors' Portraits (VIDEO)

It was only after hundreds of people shared their support for Walker on the Benefit for Grayson James Walker page that Facebook admitted their mistake. In a statement, they said:

Upon investigation, we concluded the photo does not violate our guidelines and was removed in error. Facebook is a place where almost a billion people share more than 300 million photos a day. (...) 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.

I don't even know where to get started with this. I mean, I understand that human error occurs, and that Facebook has an enormous job in manually reviewing those 'flagged as offensive' reports, but how could anyone have decided that a photo of a dying baby fell under their rules of not allowing "graphic violence, threats, self-harm, bullying and harassment, hate speech or nudity and pornography"?

Not only that, but whoever flagged it in the first place should be downright ashamed of themselves.

Walker has since accepted Facebook's apology, saying:

After days of frustration over the removal of Grayson's photo, I am now at peace. I am grateful for their sincere apology and feel that this mistake will not happen to anyone else.

I'm glad Facebook finally stepped up and admitted they made a bad decision, but I'm not at all sure it won't happen again. The system seems inherently unsustainable—anyone can flag any image for any reason, and then a team at Facebook has the Herculean task of deciding whether or not the picture really shouldn't be allowed? I'm not saying I have a better solution, but I can't imagine that this is the last we'll hear of a photo getting deleted for no good reason.

For most, that may be no big deal. But for Grayson Walker's family, I'm sure having their son's image banned was just one more heartbreak they didn't need to deal with.

What do you think of Facebook's photo policy? Do you think it should be improved somehow?

Image via YouTube



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Stacey. Stacey.

After Facebook did that, why on Earth would she not just delete her account and be done with it? I already dislike Facebook because I think it's lame, but if they told me a photo of my newborn was graphic that'd be icing on the cake for me to not use it anymore.

I also think people should not post such personal photos on there, like, at all. If you have internet access to go on FB, why not just email friends and family. When you're on a forum owned by a business who has complete control,you get what you get.

nonmember avatar Court

I concur with Stacey. If you are so set on sharing that image of your baby's birth defect, why oh why would you want to post it on a page for the world to see? If you must share it, e-mail it. I'm trying to understand why they would want to share a picture of the poor child without the hat, or even take one to begin with. I have seen photos of anencephalic babies; they are quite jarring. Why would you want to remember THAT image of your child? To me, that would be like taking a picture of the tumor that killed my mother. Keep the sweet photos of the little child with the soft, comforting snuggly hats, where you can focus on his sweet face, and not the sad accident of birth that took him from you too soon.

omgitsjo omgitsjo

Maybe there is a threshold for the number of flags photos receive. With so many photos, I doubt there is actually a human checking each one that gets flagged. I'm glad it was resolved though.

breez... breezymommy4

some people can just be so ignorant... there are plenty of naked and half naked photos that needs to be taken down and yet they some how managed to find this womens pictures offensive? thats crazy... i am agreeing with stacey... i would have deleted my account and would have been done with it alll

Smerk... Smerkalot

I wholeheartedly agree with everything Stacey. said.  It's really quite rediculous... But those ARE very personal photos, and you have to be prepared for the evil little trolls that are all over the internet (and yes, facebook).

 I personally have an account but seldom use it, more so as a way to have some record in pictures of my life that friends tag me in, if I don't like them.. I delete them.. it's quite simple.  You get an email notification, and can change your privacy settings to who sees them.. I am horrendous at taking pictures myself, as in never... so it's a good way to have some keepsakes as well.

LadyB... LadyBugMom09

Thats one of the many reasons I deleted my facebook page.

ghost... ghostbaby

What the mother doesn't realize is that facebook didn't just randomly decide to censor her page. People on her "friends" list reported the photos. Thats the only way facebook monitors anything is by people reporting them. She is making it out to look like she was targeted when she wasn't.

Penny Stephens

It's possible others flagged the photos thinking they were spam or unreal. FB apologized, they are doing their job in helping to keep offensive, not necessarily these, material off of their site.

nonmember avatar kim stout

I can't believe this. Iam a mother of a child in heaven and iam appalled that someone who be so heartless as to flag those pics and bad. I have pics posted of my dead son all over my wall. Yes he was 17 but still it doesn't matter. Iam so sorry for graysons families loss. My heart hearts for them and I know how they feel.

Rhonda Brown CW

i have seen comments 100 times worse that this....what about the photos showing half naked men and women?? KIDS are on facebook, do we really want THOSE kinds of pics available to kids?? I feel bad for the parents for their  loss and wish them all the best in getting thru this terrible ordeal!!

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