Is This Baby as Scary as a Zombie? Facebook Thought So
Facebook censors have struck again. But this time, instead of yanking down a Coppertone baby-inspired photo, they've rejected a picture of a sick newborn in a hospital, saying it was "scary, gory or sensational."
The battle began this summer, when the baby, Hudson Bond, was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy of an unknown origin, reports WTVD (via The Huffington Post). After learning that his son would need a new heart, Kevin Bond did what many of us would do: he started a Facebook page to publicize his son's plight and raise money for medical expenses. Along with news of Hudson's condition, Kevin posted photos of the baby in the hospital. To reach a larger audience -- and hopefully garner more support -- he occasionally forked over $20 to boost the posts.
But Facebook censors rejected his September 4 boost, which included a photo of baby Hudson hooked up to a few different tubes. Their reason? The photo was "scary, gory, or sensational and evokes a negative response. Images including accidents, car crashes, dead and dismembered bodies, ghosts, zombies, ghouls, and vampires are not allowed."
Boilerplate language, for sure, but to Kevin, those were fighting words. He told WTVD, "I was really hurt, actually. I mean, I kind of cried. He's my son, I love him. And to have someone reject a picture... [of] my beautiful son lying in a hospital bed needing help -- that really cut me."
Kevin tried to sort out the situation with Facebook, but the social media giant wouldn't respond to him. However, the Bonds' situation did catch the attention of the media, who spread the story quickly. Soon after the news broke, Facebook recanted: A company spokesperson told The Huffington Post (though not the Bond family directly), "This was a mistake on our part, and the ad has been re-approved. We apologize for any inconvenience this caused the family."
But it wasn't enough for the Bonds. The distraught father called Facebook's apology "half-hearted" (which it kind of was). After writing a scathing post about it on September 10, Kevin received a call from Facebook. Besides a verbal "I'm sorry," the company explained that an automated system accidentally flagged the photo of Hudson in the hospital. As an olive branch, it offered $10,000 worth of Facebook ads. The Bonds have asked that $5,000 of it go to help Eliza O'Neill, a 4-year-old girl with Sanfilppo Syndrome; they'll use the remainder for baby Hudson, who continues to wait in the hospital for his new heart.
Update: The wait is over for baby Hudson, reports Today.com. On Monday, Sept. 22, he underwent a successful heart transplant surgery and is recovering well in the hospital. The day after the surgery, Kevin updated supporters on Facebook: "Last night I really slept for the first time in two months. My heart made whole by that precious little gift beating strong in Hudson's chest. Thank you will never be enough for all you've done to support Hudson. He's got a long way to go, but we can honestly say we would have never gotten this far without you all."
Tell us: Do you think Facebook has done enough to make amends for censoring the photos?
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Image of Hudson Bond courtesy of Hudson's Heart via Facebook