The Backwards Views of the World and Women {Facebook}

by Mrs. BWF on May 29, 2013

We recently shared this picture, sent in by Brooke, on our BWF Facebook page. It was so loved, but within one day it was removed from Facbook as a violation.

What does this violate? Being innately wonderful, beautiful and lovely? Being a girl?

removed picture crop

The child was not naked. We cropped it though, to make sure there were no issues. You can see nothing inappropriate at all. She is loving on her doll.

It’s walking a fine line to say that this is inappropriate because of the child without a shirt on. Should women and girls be hidden away just in case of someone who is inappropriate themselves? Should we be ashamed of what our bodies and our instincts innately tell us to do? Should we cover head to toe so as to give no man any ‘urges’? You see?  Saying that this is inappropriate is an issue to begin with because you are saying something so simple, natural and innocent is inappropriate, but you are making it an issue.

fb removes picture

In no way is it OK for children and women to constantly be shamed and hidden especially with what our bodies were meant to do. Anything natural or instinctual is ‘shameful’ in our society anymore. We fought hard to be treated as equals…now we have to fight to be birthing, loving, strong women. Birth Without Fear has been a target by many hateful people and by Facebook itself. Our posts are suppressed and we are asked to pay. Pictures are shared on BWF, which do not violate policies, are removed on a regular basis and ‘bans’ put on our admin’s profiles. We’ve had hundreds of emails sent in on our behalf with no response. We won’t stop. We are celebrating women, birth, supporting one another. We won’t be silenced by a social media. We are grateful to use this platform to share the blog posts and reach people (millions). We also are diligent in following Facebook’s terms of services. But still we have pictures like the one above removed along with birth, a placenta, or even a baby in a birth pool.

removed picture2

From Apple Blossom Families on April 3rd:

“Yesterday facebook blocked an image on the Birth Without Fear page, there is nothing offensive with that image, thousands of people agree. Permission was given by the parents and by the photographer to be used and shared on Facebook. Please put the image back on Birth Without Fear and reinstate January Birthwithoutfear’s account immediately. It would be nice if you would stop harassing Birth Without Fear, a page that supports THOUSANDS of women and families around the world.”

siblings FB removed

It gets old. Children are found offensive. Or hide kids in case of a pedophile. Well maybe women and female children should start covering in our country in case a man gets an urge. That is, unless it’s FOR sex or a product/TV ad.

fb banned again breastfeeding crop

It’s not a question of ‘what is our society coming to’? It’s a matter of what has our society become? We are already here. Women fought so hard for equality and guess what? We must again. We are at a point where we have to fight to not be shamed to be…a girl or a woman. We have to fight to not be ashamed for using our breasts to feed or comfort our children. To birth our children. To be comfortable in our own skin. We have to fight the stereotypes of pornography and what that is doing to our men and society. So, no matter how frustrating this is. Not matter how intensely I want to say screw you to Facebook or other social medias, I won’t. I will not be silenced. Back me into a corner and I will come out delivering throat punches (virtual ones I guess). That is what we must do mamas. Unite and stand strong. To simply be without prejudice.

***An hour after I shared this on Facebook, I received a notification that the picture has been removed again and my profile is on a 3 day ban. Disgusted by this sexist behavior. Rape and violence towards women and children is not removed on FB all the time, but this is?***

 3 day ban

banned again

And again…

fb ban 2

Removed twice (once today June 24th, 2014 and I’m on another 3 day ban)…

melissa cate ban

At this point, we’ve had too many bans to mention, but you can see more bans here and here. In the meantime I receive emails of pornography and nudity that is NOT removed by FB. It’s time for a change.

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Caitlin Harris May 29, 2013 at 8:17 pm

Thank you for posting this. It makes me sick to my stomach to think that our society still finds women, girls, and womanly subject matter “offensive”. I will not be silent for the sake of my daughter. Thank you for not being silent, too. We stand stronger together than alone.

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Leanne May 29, 2013 at 8:29 pm

It’s really disturbing that beautiful images like this are removed from a page that offers support and community to women yet pages making a joke of rape (read Glen Cannings huffingtonpost article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/glen-canning/rape-jokes-on-facebook_b_3345641.html), or other hateful awful pages are allowed to remain simply because of “freedom of speech”.

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Hannah May 29, 2013 at 8:50 pm

I love that I can stay connected to people with Facebook, but the blatant double standards are sickening. There are pages and pages dedicated to barely clad women showing off their T&A, (borderline porn if you ask me) but pictures of innocent sweetness are banned repeatedly. It sort of shows an agenda, don’t you think?

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Rosie May 29, 2013 at 9:49 pm

FB is ridiculous. I am going to email them in support of you, but in the meantime I just want to say thank you. I’m 24 weeks pregnant and I appreciate your posts…they inspire me!

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kellie May 29, 2013 at 10:15 pm

I find it absolutely hilarious that these type of beautiful images are taken down and banned when there are groups who constantly add naked photos of women or degrading photos of women and these people who post photos of animal cruelty…. yet THIS is what gets banned??? Please!

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astrotriforce May 29, 2013 at 10:21 pm

Absolutely pathetic and ridiculous. A lot of it has to do with our “modest” stance on nudity as well. It’s funny cause if it’s a music video of a girl shaking her ass on MTV or virtually any video by any secular rapper all’s fine and dandy. In Europe, or so I hear, they don’t have these problems because nudity is considered a completely normal element of being this weird thing called a human being (so you can expect to see nudity at the beach, even if kids are around). Yet here in America, the “land of the free”, stuff like this is banned and taken down?! It’s so twisted, it’s just sad. Isn’t there any real way you can protest facebook against this? Have you tried contacting the… *shudder* ACLU. I’ve always opposed them cause of their liberal views but they actually have proven to do some good work and stand up for people even in Conservative cases. This isn’t a political issue, it really is a women’s rights or parental issue or whatnot. It’s just gotten so ridiculous. You guys really should work on banning together and getting someone involved to fight the power. Or even starting a protest on that protest.org site or whatever it is. I’m sure support would balloon for you against Facebook. At this point it’s almost like the IRS scandal where they seem to be out-and-out targeting breastfeeding sites. Which they might as well be targeting women in general just like you say in this post. I support you guys 100% and everything your doing. Hopefully others will speak up and speak out against this type of crap.

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Kelsey M May 29, 2013 at 10:33 pm

This is completely maddening. What a backwards way of thinking!
Thank you for being the voice that so many women–and families who are choosing this very normal and natural lifestyle–need.

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Holly Long May 29, 2013 at 10:45 pm

The fact that FB would do this is absolutely absurd. It’s hypocrisy at its finest. The amount of garbage that I have to sift through and FB ALLOWS to be there is INSANE! These images are pure and beautiful. I am so offended they were removed!!!!!

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Bethany Hunt May 29, 2013 at 11:17 pm

I find it quite interesting that close to the posting about this in my FB newsfeed was a Professional Photographers of America post that had women who were, I believe, much more inappropriate than any of your posts.

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KIMBERLY May 29, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Another outrageous insult to women and girls everywhere. How do you manage it, FB? To have priorities and policies that are almost completely backwards! Unreal. i’ll wager that either the “moderators” are not really human beings, or that they are all adolescent males (like FB founder Mark Z was when he founded FB) and just hate all women (like FB founder Mark Z, who founded FB so he could compare the woman who broke up with him to pictures of farm animals.

Yep, it’s the muck from which FB was born. What is REALLY shocking to me is that Sheryl Sandberg, FB’s Chief Operating Officer and Director is supposedly a “feminist”! Ha! Either she can’t “operate” her way out of a paper bag, or she just wants the money (billions with a B) or she’s so busy on her Lean in book tour/project, that she hasn’t noticed.

What do you think of Ms. Sheryl Sandberg? What a hypocrite, is what i think.

Lean In My #ss. Take your sorry excuse for a woman self and just stay in your ivory tower, OK? i had respect for you once, and after a solid year of watching FB do this kind of crap, (while telling me and others reporting on website advocating violence, sexual violence and showing violent porn images, that those DO NOT violate FB’s policies.

WTF??? i guess it all must be doubleplusgood. After all, our troops have won a glorious victory. Right? RIGHT???!!!

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Teresa May 29, 2013 at 11:55 pm

My Granddaughter pretends to breast feed her babies – Mommy does it, so it is perfectly natural. I cannot understand why FB would find anything like this offensive in any way. A perfectly natural way to play ….. maybe I should go on a hunt for all the really bad photos that pop up all the time and just go on a reporting frenzy!
I certainly hope that all of us emailing FB will help BWF stay the incredible resource that it is!!!

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Amy Berg Pickett May 30, 2013 at 12:55 am

These pictures are lovely. I do not want to see picture of women with extremely large breast implants. So weird sexy pictures are fine, yet not children, birth, nursing, and Motherhood?
Lets speak up.

Amy

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Fi MacVane May 30, 2013 at 1:54 am

FaceBook is ridiculous in removing pictures which are completely inoffensive and leaving photos verging on the pornographic. The picture of the little girl ‘breastfeeding’ her dolly was so sweet and photos of women breastfeeding show women (and men) that breasts have a purpose and are not just there for men’s amusement. In fact I often wonder if our society’s breast obsession is not a result of the fact that men were not breastfed as children, particularly in view of the popularity of ‘inflated’ breasts which only resemble real breasts when the real ones are lactating! As a midwife I believe we need to implant the image of women breastfeeding into the consciousness of American men and women (also in the UK that also has low breastfeeding rates). I also wonder, would FB have removed the image if the topless toddler was male?

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Vita May 30, 2013 at 5:35 am

As time goes by I like FB less and less. I’ve already deleted and made private a lot of the contents on my profile. Would delete the account altogether, but then it would leave me with no regular contact with a lot of my friends and family overseas. If there was a simple alternative (eg everyone had and used Skype) I would jump for it. Good luck in all the wonderful work you do!

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Ashley Perry May 30, 2013 at 7:43 am

Oh my goodness….what’s wrong with a child breastfeeding or a woman breastfeeding there baby? Women breastfeed there babies all the time. I even done it twice with my kids for a short period of time but I done it.

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Renate S. Øygard May 30, 2013 at 7:49 am

This is just insane! This blatant disregard for our intrinsic value as women, life-givers, nurturers, mothers, lovers and humans – I’m left speechless!!

I do love the connectivity FB provides us with, but I dare say it’s time to switch to somewhere less misogynous! Perhaps Google+ is the place to be…?

I absolutely LOVE BWF!! Your page, along with other similar ones, has empowered me and my husband in both our way of parenting and also how we will be birthing in the future, given that we receive more blessings/babies :) And the stories and pictures you post are all WONDERFUL!
Lots’a hugs ‘n’ love from Norway!

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Rhonda May 30, 2013 at 7:51 am

I can’t believe FB removed that picture. It so perfectly shows how our children model us, and something as beautiful and natural as nursing melts my heart.

Check this photo out and tell me which is more inappropriate. This really saddens me as this is my friend’s daughter. The girl can’t believe she has over 2,000 likes. I’m like seriously! She has over 2,000 likes because of all the perverts out there probably getting off on her pictures. So sad. And FB does nothing about it.
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=232788820199943&set=pb.136495113162648.-2207520000.1369917793.&type=3&theater

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Violet May 30, 2013 at 12:31 pm

This is an issue that gets me fired up maybe more than any other. It makes me sick that the similarities between blaming nursing mothers/children and blaming rape victims are so uncanny.
As a secondary survivor Mom, I can’t tolerate the blame-language surrounding any of this! I wrote a blog post about this, too.
http://ferventluminosity.blogspot.com/2013/04/sexual-assault-and-breastfeeding.html

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Sara Bryant May 30, 2013 at 3:36 pm

It’s disgusting that these pictures are being banned. They are beautiful, lovely, wonderful images that in no way are offensive or wrong.

And yet images that are violent towards women are allowed? I do not understand it.

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Stefanie May 30, 2013 at 5:00 pm

I just want to say that I will support you. I am more than willing to cross post pictures, articles, whatever on facebook!

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Tanya May 30, 2013 at 5:19 pm

I have way more offensive images come up on my fb newsfeed – why are these not removed by admin? I have a photo of me as a little girl “breastfeeding” my dolly – it’s a natural thing for a little girl to do – especially if mummy’s just had a baby and said toddler is merely imitating what her mummy is doing! Photos of BWF are celebrating life and motherhood. There is absolutely nothing offensive about them.

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Tricia V. May 30, 2013 at 5:59 pm

I have a picture of my 3 year old son “feeding his baby like Momma does.” He has his shirt pulled up and his baby cradled in his arms. I thought it was sweet and thoughtful that he would want to feed his baby the way I feed his baby brother. I wonder if FB would remove it too.

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Anna Wilde May 30, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Disturbing behaviour by facebook. That our natural body is not ok! Grow up.

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Rachel May 30, 2013 at 9:18 pm

So disgusting that THIS would be banned by a social utility that obviously has no objection to many many pornographic images. This is a site that allows profiles like “Expose that Slut” to stay up for months and months further encouraging a culture of rape. I am so beside myself right now! Shame on Facebook. Even the suggestion that this sweet picture is somehow offensive is so WRONG.

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tali May 30, 2013 at 9:49 pm

When I saw the picture of the little girl nursing her doll, I became emotional with joy. It was so sweet. Tears welled in my eyes to see such a little wonder :)

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Darcy @ Tales From the Nursery May 31, 2013 at 12:53 am

That is such a sweet picture. Facebook is horrible at enforcing it’s own terms correctly.

I have yet to see or hear about Google+ removing any breastfeeding pictures or posts.

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Phyllis Brasenell May 31, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Thank you for all you do! I recommend your site to every single client I serve :) The actions of FB are absolutely maddening– I’ve written a respectful note about my concerns and encourage others to do the same. Pressure is the only way to make them change.

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Dayna May 31, 2013 at 2:47 pm

I have pictures of a number of my kids doing the same thing. I always thought it was neat and kind of cool……

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Jay May 31, 2013 at 9:49 pm

I’ve seen this happen to some Facebook pages before, mostly progressive-leaning political pages, but not to the degree you’ve described here. To my understanding (which I may be wrong) it’s mostly a problem of how Facebook is set up from a mechanical, programming perspective (that and I find it hard to believe human beings could be so *consistently* cruel… at least, I would hope not). All it takes is for a couple of users to “report” something and Facebook will remove it without question, even if the people reporting it are trolls or harassers (which is why I’m very familiar with it happening on political pages). I’d like to know how much of this is done by humans and how much is done by machines. Still, thank you for continuing to share them.

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Zakiya June 1, 2013 at 9:16 am

I agree with the comment about starting a protest on the protest site. If you’ve been banned from posting for three days, I think your followers and their friends should sign out of Facebook for three days. Also women could change their cover photo to them breastfeeding their child… Just a few ideas.

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Leslie June 2, 2013 at 11:01 pm

I just want you all at BWF to know that regardless of how ridiculous fb is you have personally changed my life. I’m not ashamed of my body or what is natural for my body to do. I’m now exclusively breastfeeding my 2nd child and unlike with my first I don’t schedule anything around her feedings so no one will see me. I’m not embarrassed just because society is uncomfortable with nature. I feel free to be a good mother and advocate for myself, other women, and breastfeeding in general. Why is it wrong to feed our children what every other mammal eats?
I love what y’all do and stand for and my third birth is already being planned without fear.
Thank you for being awesome and don’t back down!

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jesse June 3, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Thank you so much for saying this! You have a great way with words!
I recently had not one but two complaints in the community I live in because I let my baby (15 months) go naked. She’s never pooped in anyone’s yard or anything. Its her home, and she’s not allowed to run around naked in the yard because of what? Men? Pedophiles? It’s already 100+degrees here but I guess that doesn’t matter.

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catherine June 3, 2013 at 1:39 pm

“Children are found offensive. Or hide kids in case of a pedophile. Well maybe women and female children should start covering in our country in case a man gets an urge. That is, unless it’s FOR sex or a product/TV” well-said

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Cindy Osborne June 3, 2013 at 2:34 pm

OMFreakingGosh! I seriously want to scour my three terabytes of drive space and find EVERY single photo of me nursing one (or two) of my eight children and post every one of them, one per hour, on my Facebook timeline for the next year. This is ludicrous!

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steph green June 3, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Isnt it just an automated filter program. Checking for skin tone, difference and amount. So these removals are just the mistake of a robotic program rather than the sexist stance of a social media corporation? Regardless I have Big giant love for BWF! Amazingly lovely work! :) xx

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zoe midge June 4, 2013 at 8:50 am

I think it is truly disgusting that images like this have been removed when I have complained numerous times about people posting pictures or dead or abused children which are far too graphic and sick and I have been ignored and they haven’t been removed how does this make sense Facebook ?

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Vanessa Lewis June 6, 2013 at 1:15 pm

A scientific article, (found at http://www.scienceandsensibility.org/?p=5547 ) The Red/Purple Line: An Alternate Method For Assessing Cervical Dilation Using Visual Cues (rather than use of uncomfortable vaginal exams during labor) was removed from Love Your Belly Birth Services FACEBOOK page as a violation of FACEBOOK’s Community Standards. Because of this, I was blocked for 24 hours, for the second time, and have been warned that my page can be disabled if such content continues.

The removal of this article (and my previous “violating” photo of breastfeeding; an image after my child’s birth which did not show areola or nipple and was in no way pornographic in nature – I was in water holding my new baby who was ALSO not showing her bits) violates FACEBOOK’s own Community Standards.

By removal FACEBOOK defies own terms, “attack others based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition.”

“We (Facebook) understand that graphic imagery is a regular component of current events, but must balance the needs of a diverse community.”

“We (Facebook) aspire to respect people’s right to share content of personal importance, whether those are photos of a sculpture like Michelangelo’s David or family photos of a child breastfeeding.”

The birthing community is a CULTURE. As a birth doula, student midwife, mother, woman, and a human being, it is my duty to educate of the rights and options laboring mothers have. These forms of media were not pornographic or offensive in any context. They were meant to inform and support mothers and birthing professionals alike; another option to uncomfortable vaginal exams during labor, or in the photo’s case, natural breast milk versus formula. Are we not allowed choice?

We were all born. So the word of the day is Vagina. Women have them. They are instrumental in procreation and birth of the very FACEBOOK employee who found this offensive. And I AM OFFENDED.
Birth IS a culture which is being discriminated against. I have been wrongfully discriminated against by FACEBOOK who has removed this and other content, by being blocked from posting for 24 hours. And I am not the first. Check out Birth Without Fear (http://birthwithoutfearblog.com/2013/05/29/the-backwards-views-of-the-world-and-women-facebook/)

Additionally, I have seen this posting several times on FACEBOOK and it still remains on pages WITHOUT violation. “STANDARDS” should not be relative to which FACEBOOK employee read it & found it offensive by personal prejudices or biases. Nor should STANDARDS be violated by the very authority that has set them.

So, let’s all take a moment to share our thoughts with FACEBOOK regarding this inequity. Implore FACEBOOK trains its content moderators to work in collaboration for positive change by confronting historic media imbalances and commonly accepted prejudices.

If you would like to write FACEBOOK on this issue, you may do so here: {http://tiny.cc/dontblockgreatimages}
Please share.

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C. Ross June 13, 2013 at 6:22 pm

1) “It’s natural” is NOT a reason to post anything. Making a poop is natural. Having sex is natural. If natural makes it ok, then FB should be loaded with pictures of both. Do you want to see that stuff?

2) Did it ever cross anyone’s mind that there are pervs out there would would Really Enjoy seeing your young children in various states of undress? And with your name and often your city in your profile, they’d have a chance of finding them? Add in the fact that the metadata saved on most digital cameras give you the exact location of where the picture was taken, and you may as well give them a map to your house. Your insistence in over sharing could risk the very children you are so eager to show off.

3) The fact that these pictures get reported means you have friends who don’t want to see this much intimate detail about your bodies. And for the record, newborn babies covered in afterbirth goo, placentas and the like are Not Pretty to most people. Clean the kid up, wrap them up, THEN show them off.

4) But hey…keep doing it. You’ll keep http://www.stfuparentsblog.com in business.

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Mrs. BWF June 13, 2013 at 10:12 pm

1. Do you eat your poop?

2. Did it cross your mind there are pervs no matter what and you are assuming everyone is?

3. This wasn’t on a personal profile. Were you never held and nourished as a child?

4. Do not care about other sites and anything stole from BWF is copyright infringement.

Carry on.

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Schweddy B. Alls June 13, 2013 at 8:41 pm

Great article!

-Phil

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Gypsy June 14, 2013 at 3:03 am

I think it may not be consistent because they have so many different people, in different locations, even different countries, as it has been described in articles, monitoring these things. That makes everything subjective. You may post something and one jerk reports it, and a FB person looks at it and finds no problem, and that happens 5 times, and on the 6th time, someone thinks it may be a violation.
Or, there may be a certain number of times after which it is automatically removed. Much of it is likely automated. I know many of the reports on statuses and comments run on algorithms, depending on what kind of report it is.
Also, everyone’s posts are being suppressed, and everyone is being asked to pay. That isn’t unique to you. I have to read the majority of my non personal news in the interest lists because the posts from pages like yours or a music site or anything non-personal do not show in my main newsfeed no matter what I do.
I think Facebook is trying to improve this issue from what I’ve read. I really don’t think it is a conspiracy against you other than a group of trolls who are trying to upset you.
Hoping for the best.

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Mrs. BWF June 14, 2013 at 10:02 am

I understand but regardless of a group of ppl reporting, FB should follow their own policies.

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Jason Wettstein June 14, 2013 at 8:47 pm

i was banned for 30 days from my facebook account for posting this on my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/FoodIndependence i have 7 accounts now from them banning me prior as i refuse to be censored. i was recently banned for posting a photo of potatoes i think facebook needs help on their algorithms

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annonomos December 17, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Facebook has pages of naked women and men and they wine about this. This is beauty and real and not disgusting. There’s stuff on fb about sex and inappropriate nonsense that little kids can see I think that should be taken down along with porn stuff and people joking abiut dead babies I lost my daughter nearly a year ago and I this this should stay up there are so many women that love to see the birth of children its really beautiful. Id rather see that then nasty bad photos that really should not be up there.

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