Hey Facebook, we see what you did there – rejecting a picture of Kevin Bond’s ailing infant son as Bond sought help raising money for a tiny heart transplant.
You told Bond that the picture on the Facebook page “Hudson’s Heart” was “too scary, gory or sensational” to befoul your pristine pages, said it might offend some visitors.
Well, Mr. Facebook, there’s just one word to describe what you did: Genius.
There’s just one word that needs to be said to you, too: Thanks.
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No, really: Thanks.
Bond and his fiance, Samantha Stevens – yes, “Bewitched” fans, that’s her real name – did what many people do when a situation becomes dire and they need help: They turned to the public via social media.
They put pictures of Hudson on their Facebook page to, Bond said, “raise awareness ... and money.”
That’s when chin-stroking, forward-thinking Facebook executives, contemplating how best to spur the awareness and fundraising effort, concluded that initially rejecting the picture would bring down so much wrath upon Facebook that it would redound to the benefit of teeny, tiny Hudson over there in his room at Duke Hospital.
That is why – that must be why – Facebook bigs told Bond and Stevens that some people would be offended by the picture of their ailing, 2-month-old baby.
“I admit, I cried a little bit,” Bond told me when he first heard that a picture of his son was deemed unfit to post on Facebook. “That’s my son, and I love him. Obviously, my emotions are already raw. We’re in a hospital room, fairly isolated, and all we can do is hold his hand, comfort him and watch him fight for his life.
“The only thing I can do as a dad is reach out and try to raise funds and awareness of the critical need for pediatric organ donations,” he said. “When they rejected that picture, it felt like the one avenue I had to reach people was cut off.”
Anyone who knows me knows that I always look for the bright side of any situation, so the only way to not conclude that Facebook execs need a heart as much as that baby does is to ascribe to them a strategy of increasing attention to Bond’s cause by being intentionally abominable.
The picture was rejected on Sept. 4, Bond said, and he received a telephone call from Facebook exec Michael McGinnis six days later. Facebook bigs apparently felt that is how long it would take for worldwide public ire to be directed at them and for the fundraising effort to receive maximum exposure from people wondering what kinds of heartless automatons work for Facebook.
Indeed, Facebook blamed an automated service for the callous letter rejecting the picture. The letter read: “Hi Kevin, Your ad wasn’t approved because the image ... is scary, gory, or sensational and evoked negative response. Images including accidents, car crashes, dead and dismembered bodies, ghosts, zombies, ghouls and vampires are not allowed.”
WHAT??? No wonder Bond was livid. And hurt. Who wouldn’t be, having a picture of your ill infant compared to zombies?
“What I asked them to do when they apologized is, if they’re going to use an automated system,” Bond said, “to soften the language so no one else has to go through” what Stevens and he went through.
“I don’t want someone else to send in a picture of someone they care about and have it compared to ghosts and ghouls and dismembered bodies,” he said.
“No doubt about it,” Bond said when asked if Facebook’s initial rejection actually increased the amount of attention his post and cause have received.
“I wouldn’t say it was the rejection,” Bond said, “but my venting about that rejection and how it made me feel and my inability to be able to contact them to appeal their decision – when I shared that, I think it tapped into a lot of anger that people have about a lot of the stuff that’s on Facebook.”
Oh yeah, let’s talk about the stuff that’s on Facebook.
This is, remember, the same social medium where bloodthirsty cheerleaders in pigtails post pictures posing with panthers, elephants, lions and rhinos they’ve killed for sport.
Less harmfully but equally revolting to some, one can find videos of teens and tweens twerking in their drawers.
And y’all thought Facebook execs were serious when they fretted that people would be offended by the picture of a tiny baby fighting for his life?
As I said, Mr. Facebook – genius, dude, and the piece de resistance of your whole strategy was offering $10,000 in ad credits to the family to help with Hudson’s Heart.
How to help
Of his son’s condition, Bond said, “Basically, he’s critical but stable. All we really need him to do is be healthy enough to receive a heart transplant if a heart becomes available.”
He said Hudson will need another heart – after the initial transplant – in four to six years, and another one before he reaches his teens, and another in his 20s.
He said any money raised beyond what’s needed for Hudson’s transplant-related costs will be used for other children who need transplants.
If you’re interested in helping with a tax-deductible donation, go to www.hudsonsheart.com. You can make checks payable to Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) in honor of Hudson Bond, 2501 W. Cota Dr., Bloomington, IN 47403.