Facebook removes Swedish breast cancer video due to ‘offensive’ images

By @vitthernandez on
Two Pink Circles
To satisfy the social media giant, Cancerfonden would use two pink squares instead of two pink circles. Cancerfonden

Social media giant Facebook blinked in the war against offensive images after the Swedish Cancer Society complained of the removal of a video on breast cancer awareness. The video, which showed animated figures of females with circle-shaped breasts, was posted to explain to women how to inspect their mammary glands for suspicious lumps.

Cancerfonden of Sweden attempted to contact Facebook but did not receive any response. Lena Biornstad, communications director of the medical group, says Cancerfonden finds it incomprehensible and strange how the medical information the video offers be perceived as offensive.

“This is information that saves lives … This prevents is from doing so,” AFP quotes Biornstad. Because of the censorship, Biornstad wrote to the portal that the group tried to meet Facebook’s rules for several days but failed. To satisfy the social media giant, Cancerfonden would use two pink squares instead of two pink circles.

When news of the video removal became widespread, Facebook apologised for taking down the video and admitted its mistake. “We’re very sorry, our team processes millions of advertising images each week, and in some instances we incorrectly prohibit ads,” says a Facebook spokeswoman.

She adds that Cancerfonden’s images do not breach Facebook’s ad policies. “We apologise for the error and have let the advertisers know we are approving their ads,” she says.

In the past, Facebook had become too strict in implementing its censorship rules – which prohibits photos that contain nudity but exempts images of works of art and women breastfeeding - such as in September when it removed a historic Vietnam War photo of a naked girl running a napalm bombing. The photo was posted by Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.