Over the past year Facebook has been in the midst of a controversy. They have asked thousands of women with pictures of themselves breastfeeding to take down those pictures. Facebook feels that the pictures violate their policy banning obscene, pornographic, or sexually explicit material. Many individuals have decided to protest Facebook on the grounds that Facebook is taking a ridiculous stand on the matter and even going against Federal law precedents. Many protestors cite the federal law allowing women to breastfeed on Federal property. Many critics of the ban cite this law saying that if it is allowed at the white house it should be allowed on facebook.
This particular case brings up a number of interesting issues about what the role of the administrators of social networking sites are. Certainly since it is in their domain they can regulate and take down information that violates their policies. However, does a line exist which governs how much censorship these sites can get away with? I personally feel that as long as the sites disclose what they will and will not censor then they are entitled to censor what they like.
This was an incredibly tricky case, mostly because the content in question was not explicitly sexual, but also not explicitly un-sexual. It was really up to Facebook’s discretion and either way they were going to anger some faction of users. If I were them I would have suggested a middle ground solution such as saying: you can keep up the pictures if you make it so that only your friends can see them. This way only those who want to would be exposed to the pictures. Whichever way this turns out, it certainly raises some interesting questions about the role of administrators in regulating content in social media sites.
Class Blog: New Media and Society