Facebook and the post-operative cancer photos


Does a scar and a piece of skin where a breast used to be constitute nudity? If you ask me, no. If you ask the FaceBook nudity-detecting software, it might spew out a different answer. You see, the omniscient powers-that-be at FaceBook demanded that pictures Anna Antell posted of her post-operative scar be taken down because they were ‘offensive’. Thankfully, after a bit of a to-do, FaceBook has backed down. But really? Nudity?

Ms Antell (who’s 43 and lives in Oxfordhsire, if that sort of information floats your boat) wanted to document her treatment and recovery from breast cancer, and posted some photos showing her scar. In one, you get to see her bare shoulder. Her other breast is covered. The photo is neither a nude nor offensive. In fact, I happen to think that it’s a rather lovely photograph.


The good news is that FaceBook has rescinded its ridiculous stance on the shots, muttering something about needing to protect their young users from offensive postings but realising that Ms Antell wanted to share her experiences with her family and friends. You’d have thought that FaceBook might have learned its lesson when something similar happened with Sharon Adams in May last year. For a few different reasons, I hope that something similar doesn’t recur.

It puts a bit of a slant on the definition of ‘offensive’, doesn’t it?