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A photo of Tess Holliday that appeared in an ad for feminist group Cherchez la Femme. Facebook apologized for rejecting the ad on grounds that it violated the social network's ad policy.


Facebook apologizes for banning ad featuring “undesirable” photo of plus-size model

May 24, 2016

Social media giant Facebook apologized Monday for censoring an advertisement featuring plus-size model Tess Holliday. Facebook originally rejected the ad, posted last week by Cherchez la Femme, a feminist group in Australia, saying that the photo, depicting a smiling Holliday wearing a bikini, violated its advertising guidelines by showing an image of “body parts in an undesirable manner.” The ad that the photo accompanied was promoting an upcoming show on body positivity the group is organizing called “Feminism and Fat.” Cherchez la Femme appealed Facebook’s decision to ban the ad, but, amazingly, Facebook officials stood by the decision to censor it, saying that it wasn’t compliant with the site’s “health and fitness policy.”

“Ads may not depict a state of health or body weight as being perfect or extremely undesirable,” Facebook wrote in a response to the group. “Ads like these are not allowed since they make viewers feel bad about themselves. Instead, we recommend using an image of a relevant activity, such as running or riding a bike.”

A screen shot of the Cherchez la Femme featuring model Tess Holliday that was initially rejected by Facebook.
A screen shot of the Cherchez la Femme featuring model Tess Holliday that was initially rejected by Facebook.

But by Monday, Facebook backtracked on the decision and issued an apology. “Our team processes millions of advertising images each week, and in some instances we incorrectly prohibit ads,” Facebook said in a statement. “This image does not violate our ad policies. We apologize for the error and have let the advertiser know we are approving their ad.” Facebook triggered a similar backlash earlier this year when it suspended users for posting photos that accompanied a story about Australian Aboriginal feminism. The images showed Aboriginal women with bare breasts.

The people behind the event were shocked and outraged that Facebook would censor an ad meant to promote an event aimed at discussing body positivity. “We thought it was really horrible and isolating and alienating … Women with fat bodies can, of course, be as desirable as anybody else,” said Jessamy Gleeson, a co-producer for the event. She added that she’s not satisfied with Facebook’s apology.

Read the full story at The Guardian.


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