Breast-Feeding Photo Brouhaha Shows How Impossible It Is To Rate Websites

from the mission-impossible dept

Just after the UK's culture minister, Andy Burnham, announced that he thinks all websites can and should be rated, comes a story that highlights what a ridiculous suggestion it is to say that you can simply classify all websites. Facebook is facing a bit of a backlash after the company started banning some photos of women breast-feeding as being inappropriate. Basically, Facebook has been making its own judgment on which of those photos are "obscene" and which are fine -- and it's pissing off a bunch of moms whose photos have been deleted. And, of course, this is just one simple example. Thinking that there's some sort of single objective measure by which all sites (or content) can be rated is so wrong it's hard to believe that someone thinking such a thing was possible could hold down a serious job, let alone elected office.

Filed Under: andy burnham, breast feeding, indecent content, ratings
Companies: facebook

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  1. identicon
    RomeoSidVicious, 31 Dec 2008 @ 10:54am

    Facebook has a right to define what sorts of pictures will be allowed on their website. I don't think anyone will decry that point. Actually some will but I don't think any rational person would decry the point.

    The women in question also have a right to raise their collective voice and attempt to have the policy changed. They have this right whether anyone agrees with them at all. As long as facebook allows the group to exist and to raise their complaints they can do it right there on facebook.

    The only thing that this highlights is how hard it is to categorize content. The debate over whether or not these women are a bunch of crazy ingrates vs breastfeeding a beautiful and natural thing is pretty much moot for all intents and purposes.

    I think the real issue here is that this story highlights the problem of classifying content. Are we to block our ever growing teenage pregnant population from access to sites showing how to breastfeed? Many filters, even ones in place in libraries, do this already. It is a single point highlighting an actual problem without being a problem in the actual instance in which it is presented. It can be extrapolated, and has in these comments, to apply to other situations. That is where the discussion lies and not in facebook doing something within their rights and people protesting that something within their rights. The actual topic of breastfeeding doesn't matter at all.

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