Facebook apologises for cancer error

SOCIAL networking site Facebook has apologised and admitted it made a mistake after it removed pictures of a woman who had undergone surgery for breast cancer.

Sharon Adams, 45, from Slough, in England, posted the photographs of herself on her page after she had a mastectomy.

She said on her Facebook page: “I am putting my pictures on here to hopefully raise awareness of breast cancer, women should check themselves weekly for any changes to their breasts.

“It doesn’t mean if you feel a lump that it is cancer, but if it is the sooner it’s diagnosed the better. After having a mastectomy you can have reconstruction if wanted.

“I will be posting pictures of myself on here as I go through each stage. I’m choosing to have my other breast removed as a precaution in the near future after the chemotherapy. I may or may not have reconstruction, I’m not sure yet.”

The removal of the photographs sparked a campaign to have them reinstated. Its organiser, Tracey Lang, said she started the group because her aunt died from cancer at the age of 42, and one of her oldest friends has only a year to live because of the disease.

“I thought it was brilliant what she was doing, raising breast cancer awareness is very important to me,” she said.

“I applaud Sharon for what she is doing, it should never have been removed from Facebook in the first place. I’m glad that they had a rethink.”

A message Facebook spokesman Simon Axten has been posted on the group’s page, explaining that a mistake had been made and that Adams was “encouraged” to replace the photos.

“We’ve investigated this further and determined that we made a mistake in removing these photos.

“Our User Operations team reviews thousands of reported photos a day and may occasionally remove something that doesn’t actually violate our policies. This is what happened here. We apologise for the mistake and encourage Sharon to upload these photos again if she so chooses.”

The photos are now back on Facebook after the site realised the error around a week ago.

Adams said she wanted to post the graphic images to help others in similar situations.

“I wanted to do something positive out of my own situation.

“I posted them up then received a message saying they were abusive, showing nudity and sexual. I was very annoyed.

“I have had people from all over the world contact me after seeing the pictures saying how it had helped. I just wanted to show people what happened and what to expect.

“But when the campaign started and got more than 1,000 members I received a message from Facebook saying there had been a mistake and I put them back on.”


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