Northern Ireland news

Facebook restores education breast cancer examination video following outcry

Facebook blamed the deletion on an artificial intelligence programme

A CANCER charity has accused Facebook of deliberately refusing to post an educational video about breast cancer, despite claims by the social media giant it was "accidentally deleted".

The educational Cancer Focus Northern Ireland video shows women how to check their breasts using a plastic model and illustrates the signs and symptoms on an infographic.

It was launched as part of breast cancer awareness month in October and is part of the charity's new fundraising campaign `Support Your Girls'.

Facebook policy allows the sharing of nudity content for "awareness campaigns or artistic projects".

It restricts "some images of female breasts that include the nipple, we allow other images, including those depicting acts of protest, women actively engaged in breast-feeding, and photos of post-mastectomy scarring".

Also permitted are "photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depicts nude figures".

Restrictions apply "because some audiences within our global community may be sensitive to this type of content - particularly because of their cultural background or age".

Yesterday Facebook put the video back on its platform, blaming the deletion on an artificial intelligence programme.

"Cancer Network (sic) Northern Ireland's post was removed by mistake and has been restored to the Page," a spokeswoman said.

"Whilst adult nudity is not allowed on Facebook, we do make exceptions for posts which are shared for educational or medical reasons, or to raise awareness for causes such as breast cancer awareness. We're sorry for the inconvenience caused."

However, Roisin Foster, chief executive of Cancer Focus NI, disputes its account of events.

"It isn't quite accurate to say that the video was removed in error as it didn't appear on Facebook when we tried to post it and it was also turned down as a paid for advert. Facebook informed us that the video didn't meet their standards," she said.

"It's a pity we had to go to these lengths to ensure the video was publicised. However, we are delighted that Facebook has seen sense, changed their mind and has posted what is a professionally made, educational and tasteful video. We hope that it will be widely viewed and be of real use to thousands of women."

Cancer Focus NI is encouraging a fun girls' night in to raise funds for breast cancer support for younger women.

The money raised will facilitate and fund a new service allowing them to speak to experts on a wide range of topics such as infertility and sexual relationships as well as to meet others in similar situations.

The examination video is available at

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