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Facebook Deems Photos of Woman's Mastectomy Scar 'Pornographic' and Removes Them


“There is nothing pornographic or explicit about these pictures."

In recent weeks, Facebook has accidentally banned photos that it shouldn't have according to its photo policy. The first were photos of a boy with Down's syndrome at the Special Olympics. Next, the social networking site blocked a photo of parents and a baby born with a disfiguring birth defect who later died. In both these instances, Facebook said it was an error and apologized.

Here is a new situation: a cancer survivor posted photos of her chest, revealing where her breast had been removed through a mastectomy. Facebook says it allows mastectomy photos but the ones posted by a British woman still were considered in violation of its graphic content policy.

The Huddersfield Daily Examiner calls the pictures images of "courage and strength." While many may agree, Facebook considered some of the 40-year-old U.K. woman's photos as too explicit ,and promptly blocked them from the social media site.

The Huddersfield Daily Examiner reports Joanne Jackson was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2011 after she had lost a lot of weight and found a lump. In honor of beating the disease -- despite losing her breast -- Jackson had a photographer take photos of her essentially topless, showing her surgical scar but covering her other breast, which remained in tact.

Needless to say, Jackson is not happy. The Huddersfield Daily Examiner has her reaction:

“There is nothing pornographic or explicit about these pictures. That was not the idea at all,” said Joanne, a former Kirklees Council youth worker.

“I took breast cancer and the mastectomy in my stride and decided it wasn’t going to stop me living my life. It wasn’t going to define who I was, and it didn’t make me any less attractive as a woman.

“My attitude was to just get on with it. I knew I could kick cancer’s a** and I did.”

According to Facebook's photo policy, any depictions of sexual activity (even if covered up), naked private parts and babies breast feeding are not allowed on the site. In 2009, Facebook took down a woman's mastectomy picture but later apologized and reinstated her right to post photos of the scar. The Daily Mail reports a Facebook spokesperson saying the site still allows mastectomy pictures, but some of the images posted by Jackson still violated the company's policy. Jackson said she is not backing down. See more images from Jackson's photoshoot here.

(Related: Ever wonder why something gets banned on Facebook? Here's the answer)

The Daily Mail also notes one of Jackson's nurses as saying if she hadn't lost as much weight as she did -- from a size 22 to 10 -- she may not have found the cancer in time to have had such a positive outcome.

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