Dana Bakdounis' missing Facebook photo sparks controversy, #WindtoDana hashtag
Dana Bakdounis joined millions of people around the world and posted a photo of herself on Facebook a month ago. But now, mystery surrounding why the image may have been taken down is still raising ire on the Internet, sparking new support for the women's movement in the Arab world.
"I'm with the uprising of women in the Arab world because for 20 years I wasn't allowed to feel the wind in my hair and my body," read the note in the photograph that shows Bakdounis posing without her veil, revealing short hair.
The picture was posted on the Facebook group The Uprising of Women in the Arab World, but, according to the group's administrators, Bakdounis' photo was taken down days later on Oct. 25.
The group released a statement claiming that Facebook suspended the accounts of several of the page's admins. The group said that Facebook sent them this message, notifying them of the reason they were banned from the social network:
"You have posted a content that violates Facebook Community Rules, the post says: Follow us on Twitter @UprisingOFWomen. Support Dana with hashtag #WindToDana."
Facebook confirmed to CBS News that the social network did remove Bakdounis' photo by mistake and released a statement on the matter to link-sharing website Reddit.
"We made a mistake. In this case, we mistakenly blocked images from The Uprising of Women in the Arab World Page, and worked to rectify the mistake as soon as we were notified," reads the statement on Reddit.
"To be clear, the images of the woman were not in violation of our terms. Instead, a mistake was made in the process of responding to a report on controversial content. Despite what the top comment may say, we never take action on controversial content on the basis of the volume of reports alone."
The Uprising of Women in the Arab World page has since been restored, as well as the accounts of the page's administrators.
The allegations that Facebook may have intervened in Bakdounis' freedom to express herself online has inspired the hashtag #windtodana on Twitter and has drummed up more support for the women's movement in Arab countries.
"#WindtoDana Awesome well done :) both women and men where created by God and their for should be equally respected :) Be free," posted Twitter users @ChrisCompo.
"Just read the #windtodana story. Nothing but respect to the young woman rejecting conformity," said Twitter user @JonRidge.
While the online world expresses support, the mood at home is complicated. According to the BBC, Bakdounis' mother has received death threats against her daughter's life. What is certain is the photograph and the movement have roused more conversation over women's rights in the Arab world.
"I was so happy when I received lots of messages from girls wearing the veil. They showed their support for me, saying 'we respect what you did, you're a brave girl, we want to do the same but we do not have the audacity,'"Bakdounis told the BBC.
Founded in October 2011, The Uprising of Women in the Arab World's Facebook page gained over 35,000 likes in October 2012. That number has double to over 70,000 in that last month alone.
The group plans to launch a two-week campaign called "Tell Your Story," which calls on women in the Arab world to share their stories on Facebook from Nov. 25 to Dec. 10.
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