Imagine how you would feel if your two month old infant son or daughter needed a new heart in order to live. To many parents the news would be devastating. Not all healthcare plans would cover such a huge expense, especially under Obamacare where their philosophy is let the very sick die so they won’t be a burden.
Now imagine that you turn to social media to help raise money to pay for a heart transplant for your newborn infant and when you do, the social media site rejects a photo of your baby.
That is exactly what happened to Kevin Bond whose two month old son Hudson desperately needs a new heart. He was born with cardiomyopathy which means that the muscles in his heart are too weak to pump the blood throughout his tiny body.
Shortly after being born, doctors at Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Duke Children’s Hospital placed Hudson on an artificial heart to keep him alive long enough to find an infant donor heart that would be a match for him. Artificial hearts only work so long before the body can’t handle it any longer, so Hudson is living on borrowed time.
Bond turned to Facebook and created a fund raising page called Hudson’s Heart. Bond posted a photo of tiny Hudson in the hospital with tubes going into his nose and mouth. To Kevin Bond, the photo showed his precious beautiful son as he sees him every day.
Facebook officials didn’t feel the same way about the photo. Bond received a noticed from Facebook informing him:
“Your ad wasn’t approved because the image or video thumbnail is 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.”
Bond was heartbroken to receive the rejection from Facebook. He told the media:
“It hurt our whole family. Nobody wants their beautiful son compared to ghosts, zombie ghouls, dismembered bodies, and vampires, and whatever else that rejection letter said.”
Bond tried to contact Facebook directly but was unable to reach a living person. When word about the reject was made public, Facebook received a lot of negative comments from people all over the globe. However, donations started pouring in to help Hudson pay for a new heart.
Facebook later apologized and said that their automated system flagged the photo. Bond said that Facebook has never contacted him personally with the apology, posting the following on Hudson’s Heart Facebook page:
“I read Facebook’s response on media outlets last night. They apologized for the inconvenience this caused my family. Inconvenience was never an issue. Having my beautiful Son compared to dismembered bodies, vampires, zombies, etcetera hurt me, and my family.”
“The ad in question was time sensitive. Reversing their decision days later fixes nothing. Further, the company still hasn’t contacted me directly. Had I not read their half hearted apology on the media I’d have no idea it existed.”
I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen far too many graphic and disgusting photos and drawings on various Facebook pages that are truly offensive, but Facebook doesn’t seem to have a problem with those. I’ve seen depictions of vampires and blood and gore on Facebook, but a tiny infant with life-supporting tubes clinging to the threads of life is too much for Facebook.
I’ve often questioned Facebook’s standards and policies and have seen them as being very subjective. Someone had to set the parameters for their automated flagging system and whoever did so has some very warped sense of what’s offensive and what isn’t. Just remember that the next time you post a photo or image to Facebook.
In the meantime, if you want to donate and help little Hudson Bond, you can do so by visiting Hudson’s Heart.