Speed Reads

What Kind of Standards?

Facebook apologizes for saying picture of plus-sized model violates 'health and fitness' standards

Facebook issues an apology.

Last week wasn't a great one for body positivity on the internet. When Australian talk show group Cherchez la Femme attempted to run a Facebook ad promoting its event "Feminism and Fat," the social network refused to display this accompanying image, which features plus-sized model Tess Holliday wearing a bikini:

(Cherchez La Femme)

The event's organizers were notified that their ad violated Facebook's Ad Guidelines for "promoting an idealized physical image," a policy that was originally intended to prevent users from promoting unhealthy standards of appearance. Facebook's Ad Team initially defended itself when producer Jessamy Gleeson contested the ban, explaining that the photo failed to comply with the website's "health and fitness policy" because it depicted "body parts in an undesirable manner.”

"Ads like these are not allowed since they make viewers feel bad about themselves," Facebook wrote, recommending the group replace Holliday's photo with "an image of a relevant activity, such as running or riding a bike."

Facebook has since approved the image and apologized for its reaction in a statement that cites volume of content as a reason for the mistake. "Our team processes millions of advertising images each week, and in some instances we incorrectly prohibit ads," the company said. "We apologize for the error."

"I can see that they were attempting to try to tackle eating disorders," Gleeson told BBC. "But at some point you have to consider that women of different weights exist on Facebook."

For her part, Holliday has spoken out about body shaming in the past and is taking the situation in stride. -Roxie Pell