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Bloody Baby Pictures Banned by MySpace

December 5, 2007

dsc02508.jpgMy friend and sometimes blogger Snikta recently had a baby and, like any proud papa these days, he posted photos of his newborn girly to his MySpace account. He received the following generic message from MySpace, which had already yanked a couple of the photos, those of his daughter in her first moments in the outside world:

Subject: We had to delete one of your photos
Body: We had to remove an image (or images) from your account because they violated our Terms of Use. Our site is for people as young as 14, so we can’t have certain kinds of pics (nude/sexually explicit, violence, material protected by copyright). Find out more about content we don’t allow here. If you continue to violate our Terms, we may be forced to remove your account.

You may feel singled out, but be assured that we delete each and every one of these images as we locate them. If you find an image which you feel is in violation of our Terms, please feel free to use the ‘report image’ link below the image.

Thanks for your understanding.

MySpace Safety & Security

MySpace’s terms of service do include a provision against “photographs containing nudity, or obscene, lewd, excessively violent, harassing, sexually explicit or otherwise objectionable subject matter,” with “otherwise objectionable” giving them fairly unlimited latitude to remove whatever they fell like. They also note that images are removed “as we locate them,” suggesting that MySpace is trolling for objectionable photos, not just responding to those that have generated user complaints.

dsc02507.jpgHowever, it’s difficult to understand what’s so objectionable about photos of a newborn. The nudity provision was violated by the images, but we tend, culturally, to have a higher general acceptance of naked babies and small children than of adults. They’re bloody photos, to be sure, but this is how babies look when newly emerged into the world. Perhaps the MySpace folks have seen too many tv/movie births, in which infants arrive plump, clean, and 3 months old. Perhaps they’ve ruined their eyesight looking at the metric sh*tton of photos of barely covered boobs and butts that they *do* allow to remain on the site.

The thing that amused me most about the message was the bit about “our site is for people as young as 14.” I know it’s a form letter, but I tend to think that just about every 14 year old would actually benefit from seeing these photos, particularly in abstinence-only land. Birth isn’t a neat and clean event, to be fantasized about by young girls who want someone to love and love them – it’s messy, bloody, and real. Heck, I saw the photos and thought twice (for a split second) about birthing any babies. A new CDC report indicates that the teen pregnancy rate rose in 2006 for the first time in 14 years – would a little reality check really hurt anyone?

If I’m being honest, I hesitated to post the photos here. I worried about freaks and pedophiles and their reaction to a naked baby. I made sure to get clear permission from the parents, though, and that’s good enough for me. Aside from which, if nothing was ever posted on the web that some weirdo would think inappropriate things about, there’d be nothing on the web. While MySpace is technically within their rights to remove the photos, there’s nothing obscene about newborns, even naked and bloody ones. That’s how we all got here, after all.

PS-The little one is all cleaned up and safe at home.

47 Comments leave one →
  1. December 5, 2007 8:01 pm

    What a beauty!
    How amazing to capture this moment. It’s too bad it can no longer be shared.

    Funny, though, when I looked at the second picture, her legs flop up almost like she was in a breech position. Was she breech? Or just the “limber legs” of a newborn.

  2. December 5, 2007 8:04 pm

    Cyndi, if she was breech, nobody told me! 🙂

  3. December 5, 2007 9:07 pm

    I had to write this up for MCB (to appear midmorning tomorrow). I cannot believe the sort of logic that thinks this should be banned while so many other things shouldn’t.

    Oh well.

  4. December 6, 2007 8:54 am

    I agree with Cyndi, this baby has the classic breech legs!

    MySpace isn’t the first website to take down pictures such as this. Wasn’t it Photobucket or some such site that takes down pictures of women breastfeeding, yet leaves up the almost pornographic pictures of women revealing their breasts?

  5. December 6, 2007 8:56 am

    You two, I’m gonna have to check with the papa to see if he left out any important details! 🙂

    Labor Nurse, you’re right – I know that both MySpace and Facebook have deleted breastfeeding images. Not sure about Photobucket, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

  6. December 6, 2007 9:06 am

    No, she wasn’t breech. The birth went perfectly in every way. Thanks, Cyndi, for your compliment!

    What I didn’t really make clear to Rachel was that the pictures were posted (in a private album, viewable only by my friends), and then those two images were deleted within a couple of hours. I don’t think any of my friends would have objected to the pics, so myspace must be trolling. Tom must be a pretty busy guy! 🙂

    It’s been almost a full day, and so far facebook hasn’t done the same.

  7. December 6, 2007 9:11 am

    Snikta, I suspected she wasn’t breech, since you were in a hospital and J wasn’t sectioned. 🙂 But I figured I’d let you speak to that.

    I’m amazed that they were taken down so quickly, and especially without any complaints.

  8. Sheila permalink
    December 6, 2007 4:20 pm

    YouTube recently took down a sweet vintage Sesame Street clip of Big Bird learning about breastfeeding while acast member breastfed her infant son. It had about 50,000 hits in a month’s time before YouTube took it down for the same reason “Terms of Use.” 14,000 clips tagged Sesame Street remain on the website, though. Grrr

  9. December 7, 2007 4:22 am

    I am sick of silly censorship. yest some providers allow the showing of atrocities (eg terrorism) freely. We should all protest against silly editorial decisions.

  10. angel permalink
    January 22, 2008 11:43 am

    I dont understand y they would make him take that down

  11. teegan permalink
    January 26, 2008 2:42 pm

    Youtube got rid of an informative children’s program teaching young ones to understand natural, healthy baby-feeding?! This is crazy! One of the PTA women that volunteers for my little sister’s class brought her baby to a school festival event and breast fed in public with no problems from anyone at the primary school. I’m a constant youtube user, and I am SO filing a complaint with them about that! PS- um, unless you know what the photos are about, those baby pics are frightening. I’m sure she looks lovely now, birth just takes it out of the mother and child.

  12. snikta permalink
    January 29, 2008 11:10 am

    Just to be clear. They did not make me take them down. They deleted them and then told me about it.

    I suppose the pics could be found a little frightening if you were not aware of the context. No one who would have been able to see the pictures should have been unaware, however, because they had all been notified a couple days before I posted them about the birth. Additionally, the album’s title indicates what was going on.

    I, too, am bothered by the larger issue of corporations and other groups-who are dependent upon their users for content- deciding that materials that are educational (I refer to the youtube video) are not appropriate for their audience. These pictures are not intended to educate, but I suppose one could find some educational value in them.

  13. Anissa permalink
    February 5, 2008 7:17 pm

    Shame on myspace!! Those are wonderful pics! I showed them to my 6 year old daughter so she can see what to expect when I have our baby in May!!!
    Nothing at all offensive about these pics!!!!

  14. Lynnette permalink
    February 29, 2008 1:35 pm

    Come on people…rules are not meant to be broken. That’s our problem now. Everyone wants to get away with something (for some exceptional reason or another). While as a woman I agree on one hand that child birth is a beautiful thing; since I’ve had 3 of my own. Yet, not everyone needs or wants to experience YOUR personal experience with it! YOU enjoy it with your close family and friends…that’s it. Myspace did what was right and hopefully they will get around to the half naked men AND women exposing themselves for personal gain online also, but until then, lets at least keep the dignity and safeguards of our children intact. With all the freaks running around this world today, someone should be happy that Myspace is taking an interest in your childs’ privacy. Come on people…really.

  15. February 29, 2008 2:02 pm

    I would argue that the parents, who posted the pictures, are in a better and more appropriate position to “take an interest in the child’s privacy” than is some random MySpace dude. Nobody was being forced to look at them. The rules themselves are not all clear, giving considerable wiggle room for what is considered obsence. The idea that this was about “getting away with something” is not at all accurate, and I say that knowing the individual who posted the photos and his family.

  16. Lynnette permalink
    February 29, 2008 4:55 pm

    Well Rachel, lets just agree to disagree. It seems to me your not a neutral to the situation, so I feel my point was valid and strong. Then again it is just MY thought. By the way,…people ARE being forced to look at them with a title like “BLOODY BABY PICTURES!”. I thought this was another daily horrific act of violence in this cruel world, but it was someones joy being brought into this cruel world 🙂 Anyway, good luck with the battle.

  17. February 29, 2008 5:25 pm

    “Agree to disagree” – I can manage that. 🙂

  18. March 6, 2008 12:42 pm

    I am a 22 year old young woman i have an 8 yearold son. if i hade seen and known what it was to have a baby i would not have done what i did at the time i did it. i love my son but at 14 with no way to suport my newboren it was very very hard i did find a job and went to school and have a beautiful son that is now in the 1st grade him self. all i am saying is i wish some one would have done this for me.
    beautiful baby

  19. Susanna permalink
    March 9, 2008 4:34 am

    Chrystal, congrats to you for handling it all. Yes, pictures like this should be shown in the classroom.

    I totally agree with the silliness and hypocricy of MySpace and others.

    I do have one consideration, though. At a certain age, little children are very self-conscious of anything “showing”. A few years from now, Snikta’s daughter will certainly not like to find out that a picture like this was posted at her birth for all to see in her parents circle. I think we should respect the feelings of children. But parents, of course, routinely invade the privacy and reveal the secrets of their children.

  20. March 9, 2008 7:46 am

    Susanna, re: your last point, that’s something I thought about. So, as a compromise, she’s welcome to ask me to remove them during that embarrassing pre-teen/teen stage. 🙂

  21. April 28, 2008 4:06 am

    I’m pretty sure you can appeal that. Otherwise, you have my support to keep posting photos like this. It’s perfectly natural in the same way that the BBC (as conservative and establishment as it gets) once showed live footage of a mother breastfeeding on the breakfast news show. Myspace are worse than our national news!

  22. david lincoln brooks permalink
    May 11, 2008 4:16 am

    This is how we all come into the world… it may not be “sanitized”, but life is like that… a little messy. The red nasal syringe told me that this child was born healthily, even though her extremities are a wee bit bluish… Some unwitting viewers might initially get the unfortunate perception that this was not a happy (ie., live) birth. I’m just sayin’. Perhaps the original post-er of this photo might’ve taken it into PHOTOSHOP and provided a caption on the photo itself featuring the girl’s name and birth particulars in a cute font… Context, context, context.

  23. May 11, 2008 9:43 am

    David, I’m happy to report that she is thriving. 🙂

  24. Cher permalink
    May 14, 2008 10:44 pm

    I am one of those people that finds childbirth and everything associated with it absolutely the MOST disgusting sight I have ever had the misfortune of witnessing. I am glad that sites like Myspace and photobucket delete those types of pictures. I do not find them appropriate to be posted on any public site. I am curious however if the pictures were marked as viewable by friends or private only? If that be the case then you should be allowed to post them on your profile but only as long as they are kept to those limitations. To make them public so that just anyone can stumble upon them is inappropriate. I had to run to the bathroom and be sick just happening across them during a benign photo search on Google. Please keep that to yourself I do not share in your opinion of it’s beauty but instead find it to be very sickening.

  25. snikta permalink
    May 16, 2008 11:05 am

    David- What you said about context is very important. The context was this: it you were able to access the album where the pictures were posted, you knew this was a happy birth. So I don’t think a caption or anything else was necessary.

    Cher- The pictures were in a private album, accessible only to friends. Yes, childbirth is “gross” and I assume that’s why they deleted the pictures. I’m sorry you had the reaction you describe.

    It’s funny. 25 comments (now 26) and I wasn’t even the one who took the pictures. I actually didn’t take most of the pictures in the album, as I was busy holding my wife’s hand and basically being overwhelmed with emotion. The pictures were taken by our labor nurse, Debbie, who grabbed the camera and started snapping away.

  26. Nikki permalink
    May 30, 2008 9:16 am

    What that Cher lady had to say is off the wall. I put pics up that are far less appropriate then a picture of a new born baby. I myself enjoyed seeing it, I didn’t get to see my child like that because of a c-section and her not breathing at birth. It’s nice to see that others can have the joy of getting a pic of their baby before the cord is even cut. I myself get tired of seeing all the nudity on the internet and their going to have a fit over a baby. If you don’t like it don’t look at it. There is porno all over the internet and you don’t see anyone doing anything about that. So I have to say get over it and complain about something that might have an impact in the world. You are right our young girls need to know that child birth isn’t a easy as they make it look on TV. I myself know fourteen and fifteen year old girls that are having children, maybe if they would see more stuff like that they would use a condom or wait to have sex. Its people who think that stuff like that should stay in the labor room are enabling our child to have a false look at child birth and pregnancy. I myself was in a labor room at age 12 and I used protection because of it when I became sexually active. So maybe Myspace needs a reality check.

  27. ncc permalink
    June 1, 2008 12:53 am

    Baby cannot consent.
    18 years from now when baby is old enough, baby can consent — or not — to naked pictures of itself splashed all over the internet.

  28. June 1, 2008 9:43 am

    Baby is completely anonymous at the moment, and is welcome to ask me to remove them if she finds that she is embarrassed nonetheless at a later date.

  29. Ally permalink
    June 5, 2008 3:02 pm

    I agree birth is a beautiful thing for the close family and very close friends. These are not the kinds of baby pictures I would upload and share with my friends. But then again others may have a different view on this than I do.

  30. June 5, 2008 4:22 pm

    Okay, people, I’m leaving that last comment up despite the spammy link just because you, like me, may be surprised that there’s essentially a “Hot or Not?” for baby photos.

  31. June 6, 2008 7:00 pm

    Even as a mother of two those pictures looked a little harsh. Maybe had he waited until baby was cleaned up it would of gotten a better response.

  32. Susana permalink
    June 8, 2008 1:22 am

    The irony is that it’s precisely because these kinds of photos are NOT circulated, that birth remains enshrouded in secrecy, and therefore anxiety for women and mothers-to-be. I have a ten-month old and would have loved to see this when I was pregnant….the moments went so fast, I didn’t know quite what to expect…..(and I am a highly educated person!).

    The secrecy/anxiety thing is key because the more women know about birth, their bodies, and the process, the less frightened they are, and the LESS pain they experience.

    Which is a longwinded way of saying, thanks!

  33. comment permalink
    June 25, 2008 5:31 pm

    To be honest this could be a disturbing photo to see for a young person. The simplest measure they should’ve taken would be to make it private somehow. I don’t see why you have to write an essay about it though…

  34. August 29, 2008 10:04 am

    These are not the only “disturbing” photos that myspace has deleted rather than filtering out all the porn on their site:

    On MSN there is a video MySpace deletes burned baby photos, of a couple who had their sons imgs removed from their myspace page. Why???? Bc the way the child looked offended someone. The boy was burned HORRIBLY in a fire when he was 18 months old and fought til he was 7. He died at the age of 7. Can you imagine having to deal with that pain. Then to put up photos, the only thing you have left of your son, only have them removed bc some heartless jackass found them offencive???

    What pictures are next? Pictures of ppl/children who were born with a deformity/disability? Certainly not the nude or partially nude images of any hot chicks.

  35. permalink
    August 31, 2008 11:01 pm

    i love the pic. she looks so beautiful!!!!!!!
    can you try to send out new pics of her first moments out into the real world? but try to do this behind myspace’s back, so that you do not get deleted?

  36. Emily permalink
    September 13, 2008 9:24 am

    Ummmm…. what’s offensive about this picture? I don’t get it. It’s a newborn and they got a great picture before she’d been cleaned up. I don’t understand why it was removed. Birth isn’t beautiful, but it is incredible. I watched enough animals born on my grandparents farm to know it isn’t pretty. Seriously, what do people expect newborns look like when they come out?

  37. megan permalink
    September 29, 2008 2:31 pm

    Unfortunately, this actually just happened to me as well. I posted three pictures of my newborn son (with his private area covered up using an editing program) and only one was deleted. I’m unsure as to why only ONE was deleted when they all looked the same. I have since deleted the others so as not to get banned from myspace.

    I’m actually ashamed of myspace for doing this. My son was not overly bloody and his private area was covered, why then did they have to delete his picture? I have sent them an e-mail, but of course they can’t have a live person to answer the darn question.

  38. Louise permalink
    September 30, 2008 12:53 am

    I’m sorry, but I find babies to be disgusting. Especially newborns when they’re all covered with blood, pus and oozing snot – YUCK!!! You could never convince me to have a kid, it’s like having some alien monster coming out of your va-jay-jay. We can do without those kinds of photos on Myspace, thank you very much.


    • tiffany permalink
      March 23, 2009 11:51 am

      also in reply to louise…. it’s unfortunate you think birth is grose… but um hey i hate to tell you…but YOU were born the same way. you werent just like zapped here all clean and pretty. and it’s nice to hear that you like to look at a grown womans ass and tits but child birth is so nasty. sorry but i personally think a grown womans nasty butt and boobs should not be plastered all over myspace that to me is GROSE!

  39. September 30, 2008 8:52 am

    Louise, good for you, we’ll just make rules about what is obscene based on *your* personal preferences.

  40. Susanna permalink
    October 17, 2008 6:43 am

    I think Benetton ran a campaign with a similar image. The campaign was banned in Catholic countries. It infringed on the notion of the purity of birth.

  41. November 28, 2008 10:47 am

    I think what’s missing is called context. The person looking through photos is looking at literally thousands of photos on pages without any context…they don’t surf through Myspace domains individually so they don’t know the context of the picture… This has happened to Myspace many times, and when the person that posted the picture takes the time to reply WITH the context of the picture, they sometimes reverse it and allow the picture.

    They just see a bloody baby and don’t know, so I would agree with the banning of that photo without context…For all they know it was posted by some sicko looking to exploit for all they know what is actually a dead baby… and that would be offensive to many.

    So if your friend or whomever will take the time to contact Myspace with a grown up explanation, and not some childish tyrade, I’d bet they’d allow the photo…

    But either way, these sites will remains conservative on what they allow because they do allow younger members, and they don’t want parents banning their kids from Myspace. And yes they will make mistakes…after all the people that run Myspace, and others are human, and often times, very young humans at that…

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder…

  42. February 9, 2009 12:27 pm

    I have a 1 year old daughter.. when my daughter was born, i too put up pictures of my newborn on myspace and got back the same response and a deleted photo. i was angry.. how is a newborn baby so wrong to post on your own site.. i didnt understand.

  43. tiffany permalink
    March 23, 2009 11:46 am

    i also had pictures of my new born baby posted on my myspace and they got deleted becuase of the same reason. and i have a girl on my friends list that has pictures in underwear and a bra and her butt half hanging out but those didnt get deleted??? i’m thinking what the hell??? so its okay for 14 year olds to see pictures of a womans butt and boobs but not a newborn babies butt??? WOW! and i have tried to contact myspace about this and can not get a response at alL!!!! it’s an outrage.

  44. February 12, 2010 3:42 pm

    I think it is just inpolite!!

  45. NO! permalink
    May 29, 2010 10:47 pm

    If I were this baby, I wouldn’t want to be published on a shit page like myspace or on any other place public/online.
    Think twice before publishing – maybe this child thinks like me. You – as parents – would have hurt him. Don’t think of her as a thing, think of her as a human being.
    She is not an object to be shown in public like a new car or a new mobile phone. She has rights!

    It is not a question of WHAT can be shown TO WHICH PEOPLE, neither if they are 14 nor if they are adults, but a question of dignity.

    It is no question of child porn, but a question of respect to the human being laying in these arms!


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