Facebook Bans Breast Pump Sales, So Moms Sell 'Liquid Gold Extractors'

Parents who breastfeed and/or pump know how expensive breast pumps are. That's why they will often try to give them away or sell them once they're finished. If you spend hundreds of dollars on a breast pump and then only use it for a short time, you may want to try and get some of that money back. Or if it still works well enough, you could be saving someone a lot of money. But people are finding it impossible to sell their breast pumps on Facebook, and they're not being told why. This has forced them to get creative with their wording.

Anyone who uses Facebook knows that their rules are often arbitrary and unclear. So when women were encountering trouble selling their breast pumps on the Marketplace or in Buy/Sell/Trade groups, they were frustrated. HuffPost Canada did some investigating, and found that many women were complaining about their posts were being banned. And they couldn't figure out why or how to fix it.

“I tried to use a number of different titles for my post to remove the word ‘breast’ or ‘pump’ but they were all banned,” one mom explains. “I took out the brand name ... no go. I tried spaces in the title and then just saying ‘pump’. The last one I titled ‘That Which Cannot Be Named’. Still got rejected,” another mom adds.

So, the reporters of HuffPost Canada decided to do some digging. Turns out, there is a very specific reason their posts are being banned. But with Facebook being Facebook, that reason is explicitly stated anywhere, nor is it being explained. Facebook considers breast pumps "medical devices," and their community laws state that medical devices are not allowed to be sold anywhere on the platform.

Here are some of the things Facebook explicitly prohibits the sale of: firearms, drugs, human blood, live animals, and adult products. Their health care section explains that medical devices can't be sold on the platform. But they list items like contact lenses, thermometers, medical testing supplies, and first aid kits. Nowhere does it state that a breast pump falls into this category.

Additionally, when their posts are being banned, Facebook isn't explicitly, or even clearly explaining why. Instead, they were just directing them to the community policy page, where it does not say anything about breast pumps.

As a result, women have gotten creative with how they word breast pump. Using phrases like "liquid gold extractor," "human milker," or simply "baby items," they've gotten around the bans.

Seeing as how the Facebook marketplace is an incredibly easy and accessible way to sell things, they either need to be more clear, or change their policies.

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