A private Facebook group designed to help parents share advice on breastfeeding has been shut down after it was revealed the administrator was accepting payments to allow men into the group.
The scandal unfolded when one moderator of the group, which boasted about 22,500 members, contacted the administrator to report “disturbing” messages she had received from men with “fake accounts” who were in the group.
Expecting to receive support and help banning the men from the group, the woman was shocked to receive a casual reply insisting she shouldn’t be concerned over the profiles.
Men 'pay good money' to join breastfeeding Facebook group
When she responded again describing it as “pretty creepy”, the administrator admitted to taking payment for men to be in the group.
“Listen, those profiles pay good money to be in the group. I would appreciate if you stepped back. I will be removing your mod status now. Sorry it didn’t work out.”
A screenshot of the conversation caused a stir when it was posted to a Reddit forum with former members speaking out about the group.
"The admin who is in these messages was removed, then an ‘announcement’ was made that these ‘accusations’ where being looked into," a former member replied.
"Well instead of looking into it and assuring their members, they closed the group and made a new one!”
Several other parents shared similar unwanted experiences they had after posting images in closed support groups seeking advice and support about breastfeeding.
"I got SO many messages from men asking to buy milk from me and if I could send them more pictures. I messaged the mod and she banned me from the group saying that if I didn't like the messages I was getting i should leave the group... that was the day I deleted Facebook and never looked back," one woman wrote on Reddit.
The woman added the experience had left her feeling too embarrassed to tell her husband at the time.
"I just felt so gross and embarrassed by posting a picture of me in a vulnerable position (postpartum anxiety. Being 1500 miles (2,414 kms) from family and trying to navigate life with a newborn) I just said "f**k this s**t I'm out".
Others posted similar warnings about online groups designed to help assault victims but became infiltrated with "creeps" with administrators unable to keep up.
"The rape subreddit and rape counselling subreddit also have a huge problem with this. It's pretty much guaranteed if you post there some creep will slide into your direct messages asking for details of your assault," one person cautioned.
"The mods work hard to keep them out and warn new posters of the danger but there's only so much they can do."
Another person cautioned even those who posted in a forum seeking advice on how to find the correct bra size were vulnerable to unwanted messages.
"The sub for finding a bra that fits well had been having issues with dudes creepily messaging posters there."
'It's the lack of consent'
One Reddit user responded in a confused manner, asking why these people sending unsolicited messages didn't subscribe to adult sites that catered to their specific interests.
"I think it's the lack of consent that turns these creeps on," another user replied.
Another former member of the now closed breastfeeding group posted a warning on Facebook after learning about the administrators admission and said one of the rules of the group was “no men allowed.”
“Now that rule has been completely removed. These men/perverts were taking the pictures that women posted of themselves or their kids and selling them to other perverts or porn sites,” Cassie Newcomb posted and cautioned others to be careful about what they posted online.
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