Facebook Blocks Photos of Child With Down Syndrome at Special Olympics

Categories: Tech, WTF?
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Facebook doesn't "like" the Special Olympics
Remember when Facebook brazenly deleted photos of mothers breastfeeding their babies, causing quite a ruckus from sleep-deprived moms, who later descended on the Facebook campus for a massive nurse-in?

Apparently, the Silicon Valley techies didn't learn much from that event.

The Bay Area tech giant reportedly blocked a North Carolina mother's Facebook page after she posted photos of her son, who has Down Syndrome, participating in a Special Olympics event. Diana Cornwell told CBS that "on Sunday, when I signed on, I had a message the pictures were a violation and was ordered to remove them in order to continue. Every photo was of my son at the Special Olympics Event."

Facebook sent her the blunt message, and disabled her account for three days until she finally removed the pictures.
Shortly after she removed the pictures, she received the following message from Facebook:
Thank you for removing photos (that) violate the Facebook terms. Because you uploaded photos that violate our policies, you are temporarily blocked from posting on the site.  ... never upload anything that contains hate speech, support for violent organizations or threats to harm others.
Andrew Noyes, a spokesman for Facebook, said the company was truly sorry and claimed the pictures were flagged "in error." "We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and we hope she'll repost the photo and continue to share her son's experience at the Special Olympics on Facebook," he said.

Cornwell says the online apology just wasn't good enough.

"This is not remotely over until they make some amends toward my son, toward myself, and the Special Olympics."

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Jodine Chase
Jodine Chase

We certainly have tried to get their attention. Thanks for reminding people, Erin, that Facebook is still deleting breastfeeding photos and suspending user accounts. We have called for Facebook to recognize how important moms are as a demographic. We want a Facebook Team assigned to Breastfeeding. Real staffers that will work quickly to restore accounts when they are suspended, to resent accounts back to zero so people don't face escalating suspensions (like my most recent 30 day suspension for a photo that doesn't violate Facebook's guidelines) and to ensure their policies are truly breastfeeding friendly. As Diana Cornwall says, it's not enough to offer an empty apology. Facebook must truly fix the problem, and it must make amends. 


Troy McCormick
Troy McCormick

Facebook needs to allow nudity and free speech when messages are friends only as the courts have ruled this is private communication such as e-mail or a letter.

Fluffy Mergatryod
Fluffy Mergatryod

Facebook's flagging mechanism is completely automated, and trolls have discovered that if they want to bother or censor you, all they have to do is follow you around facebook and flag every comment of yours or picture you post that they can find as being abusive "hate speech" no matter what you actually said. The account warnings and blocking mechanism will kick in, with no human reviewing what you actually said. There seems to be no way to appeal it - a troublemaker can get you blocked over nothing, just to harass you. Facebook refuses to do anything about this. Some of us have tried to get their attention.

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