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Free the Nipple: Giant Breast Pops Up Outside Facebook HQ in Protest of Excessive Policing

Tattoo artist Vicky Martin who specialises in 3D areola tattoos for women who have undergone mastectomies to treat breast cancer, was banned on Facebook recently.


Updated:November 17, 2019, 9:31 AM IST
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Free the Nipple: Giant Breast Pops Up Outside Facebook HQ in Protest of Excessive Policing
Image credit: Instagram/quaggie26

A giant breast has been planted outside Facebook's London headquarters as a mark of protest against the social media platform's strict nipple policing policies.

The giant, inflatable boob was installed in Brock Street by medical tattooist Vicky Martin.

Martin specialises in creating 3D areola tattoos for women who have undergone mastectomies to treat breast cancer. Mastectomy usually results in the loss of the nipple.

The tattooist has accused Facebook of blocking her on Facebook after her work was considered pornographic. She and 50 other women, many of them breast cancer survivors, joined the protest to speak about the stigma related to breast cancer and how such restrictive measures kept survivors from sharing their stories on social media platforms.

Speaking to BBC, Martin said that the protest was about "giving women the right to show other women that they look complete again after such a long journey".

This is not the first time that Facebook has been called out for unfairly censoring images of nudity. A similar incident happened with British make-up artist Kerry Irwing who created 3D nipples with ink on women who have undergone mastectomies.

Nudity is strictly prohibited on Facebook and many have previously raised their voice for the "free the nipple" movement, calling for relaxation of Facebook's nipple policing. The platform has also been called out for using algorithms that often miss the socio-cultural connotation of works of art and censor them based on nudity.

In its community guidelines, Facebook mentions that it understands that "nudity can be shared for a variety of reasons, including as a form of protest, to raise awareness about a cause or for educational or medical reasons. Where such intent is clear, we make allowances for the content,"

"For example, while we restrict some images of female breasts that include the nipple, we allow other images, including those depicting acts of protest, women actively engaged in breastfeeding and photos of post-mastectomy scarring. We also allow photographs of paintings, sculptures and other art that depicts nude figures,".

Despite claiming that its nudity polices have become "nuanced" over time, Facebook has time and again taken down content in name of banning pornography. A famous example was the blocking of a journalist for sharing a the iconic "Napalm Girl" photo as it was in violation of Facebook's nudity clause.

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