A mass online protest movement is gathering pace after Facebook banned some breastfeeding photos from the social-networking Web site.

Angry mothers even picketed the Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., in a live "nurse-in" to complain about a ban on photos of mothers suckling their children that exposed too much of the mother's breast.

Hundreds of women have had their pictures removed without warning and have been informed that they may be barred from using the site.

More than 80,000 people have joined a Facebook petition group called "Hey Facebook, Breast-Feeding is Not Obscene" with hundreds joining every hour.

More than 11,000 women from around the world took part in an online "nurse-in" protest on Saturday by posting more breastfeeding pictures. The protest's organizers reported that many have since had these photos removed from the site.

Facebook has said that it has no problem with breastfeeding but photos that showed nipples or areolas were indecent and had to be removed.

Barry Schnitt, a Facebook spokesman, said the Web site takes no action over most breast-feeding photos because they follow the site's terms of use.

"We agree that breast-feeding is natural and beautiful and we're very glad to know that it is so important to some mothers to share this experience with others on Facebook," said Schnitt.

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