Facebook makes a U-turn on cancer pics

Facebook have done a U-turn and are now allowing pictures of women from the Thames Valley, who are baring their cancer scars in an online gallery, to be posted.

14 cancer survivors posed for the 'Dear Cancer' exhibition at Oxford's Malmaison Hotel last month to prove the disease could not rob them of their beauty or bravery. Mum-of-three Anna Antell from Eynsham, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the Churchill Hospital in 2009, was one of the woman pictured showing scars from her mastectomy.

Earlier this week the social networking site took them down, because the images contained nudity. In a statement they said:

‘While Anna’s cause is a worthy one, with over 500 million users we have to put in place a set of universal guidelines that respect the views of a wide range of people, from 13 year olds to the very old. The image was removed because it contains what we categorise as nudity - not because of the nature of the nudity in question.’

Anna told Heart when facebook took the pictures down she felt they were lumping the women alongside violence and pornography. She said:

"They're all (the pictures) very artistic. It's not gratutious in-your-face 'here's my scar have a look at it' - the lighting's moody and dark. It's ishowing some women without breasts and some with breasts. The images are beautiful."

A twitter campaign ensued, in which 2,000 people viewed the pictures and word spread around the world. And in a complete U-turn, facebook's now allowing the pictures to be viewed. A spokesperson from Facebook told Heart:

"We always strive to get the balance of our policies right, to enable people to share their experiences while still being mindful of how to protect other people, some as young as 13, that are on Facebook. We do not allow nude images on the site, but recognise that we need to enforce this policy sensitively and support Anna's right to share her experience of her friends including photographs of her scar."

Although Anna and her friends are grateful to facebook for doing this, she reckons the social networking site needs to have more of a dialogue with it's 500 million users rather than have one rule for all.

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