Breast Cancer Survivors Speaking Out Against Facebook For Banning Awareness Campaign

Breast cancer survivors rail against Facebook’s nudity policies after it banned a campaign run by the Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA). The BCNA, a nonprofit organization, posted ads on Facebook of topless breast cancer survivors covering themselves with baked goods. The campaign is in partnership with the Australian bakery chain, Bakers Delight, which is now producing a product called “Pink Fun Buns,” the sales of which will go to the nonprofit in an effort to provide free resources to those diagnosed with breast cancer.

BCNA ad campaign

Breast Cancer Network Australia

Last year, the same campaign resulted in a total of 1.6 million dollars raised, however, it is unclear if last year’s campaign was able to advertise with similar images on Facebook’s platform. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation spoke to BCNA CEO Kirsten Pilatti, who reported that the ads for the campaign were approved in April by Facebook, but Facebook officials changed their mind last minute and quickly revoked their previously given approbation.

BCNA ad campaign

Breast Cancer Network Australia


Facebook’s Nudity Policies

Facebook employees have defended their policies, stating that they are supportive of individuals who post images of post-mastectomy scars, as well as images that contain the appearances of breasts if they are “depicting acts of protest,” or “women actively engaged in breast-feeding,” but that their policies prohibit advertisements from taking these same liberties. “Nudity or implied nudity” and “excessive visible skin or cleavage, even if not explicitly sexual in nature” is a no-go when it comes to ads featured on Facebook. Thus, the post-mastectomy scarring visible in BCNA’s campaign images becomes impermissible.

BCNA ad campaign

Breast Cancer Network Australia

A Facebook representative stated: “We agree that undergoing a mastectomy is a life-changing experience and that sharing photos can help raise awareness about breast cancer and support the men and women facing a diagnosis, undergoing treatment or living with the scars of cancer. The vast majority of these kinds of photos are compliant with our policies”.

BCNA ad campaign

Breast Cancer Network Australia

Antonia Sanda, the spokesperson for Facebook Australia and New Zealand, added her two cents regarding Facebook’s decision to ban BCNA’s images, emailing Buzzfeed News a statement that said she loves the ads and their messaging, but that the advertiser did not heed Facebook’s advice when it came to following the platforms guidelines for advertisements. Yet, Sanda later clarifies this declaration, stating that, while “ads about breast cancer education or teaching women how to examine their breasts” are necessary to public health, the ads posted by BCNA “do not contain any of these messages,” but is “rather…a brand selling a product.”

BCNA ad campaign

Breast Cancer Network Australia


Breast Cancer Survivors Speak Out

Despite Sanda’s accusations, breast cancer survivors are on the side of BCNA and have taken to Facebook to criticize the platform’s decision to ban BCNA’s campaign. One Facebook user wrote, “disgusting that facebook would ban this [ad]. I am proud of my scars and it’s not nudity it is a reality for so many of us fighting for our lives and I will never be ashamed of them.” Another person commented inspirationally, “should us breast cancer survivors be ashamed of our altered bodies? I think not. We are still women with beautiful bodies and this sort of campaign helps us to be proud of our bodies not just the fact that we lived.”

BCNA ad campaign

Breast Cancer Network Australia

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