MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - After media attention, thousands of online comments and the work of one Mid-South mother, Facebook is backing off its controversial actions of removing graphic pictures of a terminally ill child.
Facebook first took the pictures down saying they violated its content policy. The social networking giant did not initially respond to our requests for a statement, but we got one this weekend after the protests against the website grew louder.
Heather Walker's son, Grayson James, died just eight hours after his birth. She posted the pictures to help with the grieving process. But then, "I couldn't post anything on my page, I couldn't like anything, I couldn't share anything," she said.
Then came this: "Dear Mrs. Walker, We do apologize for the removal of this content and the subsequent warning," Walker read.
It's not everyday a billion dollar company makes amends for its transgressions. But that's exactly what Facebook did after deleting controversial pictures of a dying newborn baby and censoring his mother's account.
Coverage of their removal created international attention, and more than quadrupled the number of views on the YouTube video of Heather's son.
Walker said, "It's just brought awareness to anencephaly and this birth defect."
Anencephaly is a disorder that can lead to spina bifida, or in Grayson's case, a partially formed skull.
Facebook says the photos of Grayson were removed in error. While Heather is elated Facebook reversed its stance, she doesn't buy for a second their explanation.
"If you guys wouldn't have reached out to help us share this and to just get it out there and get their attention, if that hadn't have happened, I feel like maybe I wouldn't have received the apology."
Heather has received cyber criticism from people who say she should have never posted the pictures of her dying son. But she says for every negative comment, there have been about a hundred positive comments.