“Facebook thinks my son is offensive.” Those six words sparked outrage after the social media giant banned an ad featuring this photo of Kevin Bond’s critically ill newborn.
Hudson Bond just turned two months old. He was born on July 18, after a smooth pregnancy and labour. Doctors gave him a clean bill of health and he went home with his overjoyed parents. “Hudson was eating well, happy to be in our arms. Sleeping all day, and partying all night,” his dad says.
But at seven days old, Kevin noticed Hudson’s breathing seemed fast. He was taken to a paediatrician, who sent the family straight to hospital in an ambulance. There they learned Hudson had cardiomyopathy and his heart was failing.
He was transferred to Duke Children’s Hospital in North Carolina, where he has already undergone delicate open-heart surgery and is now desperately awaiting a heart transplant. “Hudson can never leave the hospital without a new heart to call his own,” Kevin says on a Facebook page dedicated to his son.
Hudson’s parents set up the Hudson’s Heart Facebook page to raise awareness of paediatric organ donations, and funds to help their baby. But when Kevin tried to advertise one of the page’s posts on September 6 – featuring the photo at the top of this page – it was rejected by Facebook. And he was shocked by the reason for the ban.
“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,” Facebook’s response said.
Kevin says the family was dismayed by the ban. “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,” Bond tells ABC11.
Four days later, after public outcry, Facebook finally called Hudson’s family to apologise and offered them $10,000 of advertising. The family said it didn’t need that much and asked Facebook to give $5000 of it to Eliza O’Neill, a four-year-old girl “racing against the clock against Sanfilippo syndrome”.
A post on the page on Hudson’s two-month birthday on September 18 says he “continues to stabilise towards a traditional ventilator, and less sedation”. “I miss his beautiful eyes,” the post says. “We’ve only known each other for two months, but Hudson I’ve waited for you my whole life.”