BUNGLING Facebook chiefs have been forced to U-turn after they banned a tattoo artist’s inkings of nipples for breast cancer patients – deeming them “sexual”.
Tanya Buxton from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire creates realistic areola tattoos for mastectomy survivors to help rebuild their self esteem.
However, Facebook removed Tanya’s photos, claiming they depict “nudity” despite the artist clearly labelling them as non pornographic.
Photos show how Facebook sent Tanya a notification warning they were about to suspend her page due to the “sexual” photos. The ban followed “snowflake” social media users complaining about the images.
The 34-year-old says the “backwards” rules meant she couldn’t properly get the word out about her free-of-charge service, which also includes cosmetic eyebrow tattoos for chemotherapy patients.
The situation came to light after one of Tanya’s clients, Iya White, tweeted about the rules last Tuesday [10 March].
She posted photos of her aunt’s areola tattoo with the caption: “This amazing tattooist today finished off my Auntie’s nipple tattoo.
“After her mastectomy/breast cancer my strong auntie felt less so. Tanya is helping restore the confidence of survivors.
“Due to Facebook rules and a few idiots reporting a nipple, she’s finding it hard to get the word out!”
Iya’s tweet quickly went viral, clocking up more than 88,000 likes online.
It also prompted outrage from social media users, who disagreed with Facebook’s stance.
Sinead Cearnaigh wrote: “Anyone reporting this needs to get a life, someone beats cancer and the snowflakes descend complaining about a bloody tattoo.
That tattoo is amazing and I hope it has done wonders for your loved one’s confidence.”
Jessie Girl added: “You know this is quality work when people are reporting a tattoo that looks like a nipple. I love this for you aunt.”
And @wizardonly said: “This is insanely cool! I can’t believe people would report this picture, trying to take it down when it’s such a positive thing.”
Speaking today, Tanya said: “I just want to get the word out there. It’s just a way for cancer survivors who have been through this horrible traumatic thing to have the final step of healing.
“It does seem a bit backwards and there’s definitely a double standard. You see topless male models all the time.
“I understand the sexual element to it with women, but female nipples are also for breastfeeding, they give us life.
“These are people who are cancer survivors and these tattoos can help them feel like themselves again.
“When you think about the fact that it’s a photo of a drawing of a nipple it seems really silly.
“We’re all supposed to be adults on social media and when you think of some of the really shocking things that are allowed online it seems a bit ridiculous.
“Social media is such a huge, free platform for tattoo artists and I just want other people to know about this option. It is available on the NHS but just because you’re a great nurse or surgeon doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be as great at tattooing.
“It would be good if there was some kind of hashtag we could use to distinguish it.
“I have tried protesting it with Facebook but I feel like my hands are tied because I don’t want them to shut down my profile completely.”
Facebook today admitted they had got it wrong.
A Facebook spokeswoman said: “Tanya’s posts shouldn’t have been removed – this was a mistake and we have restored the content.
“Whilst nudity isn’t allowed on Facebook, we make exceptions for posts which are clearly intended as medical or educational, which can include images of post-mastectomy areola tattoos.
“The judgements we make when we apply our policies are very nuanced and occasionally we make mistakes.”
It is not the first time they have made this error, in November last year another tattoo artist also had her “sexual” mastectomy pictures banned.
Ironically, the site also has form for missing content which should be banned.
It was reported earlier this month more than 300 cases of child exploitation went unnoticed by the site over the last six years.