Too fat for Facebook? Plus-size image deleted for "violating" health and image policy


Social media site, Facebook, have said they’re sorry for deleting an image of plus-size model Tess Holiday from a feminist group and telling them that the image shows “body parts in an undesirable manner”

According to The Guardian, the Facebook group called Cherchez la Femme are an Australian group who host monthly talk shows “over drinks, covering current affairs and popular culture from a feminist perspective.”

The group posted an ad for their latest gathering, a talk on feminism and fat, using an image of popular plus-sized model Tess Holiday in a bikini and Facebook decided to delete the image, saying that it violated the social media site’s ad guidelines.

The group then appealed the decision and Facebook’s ad team at first defended it in a message to one of the page’s admins writing that the photo didn’t comply with their “health and fitness policy”.

Facebook’s health and fitness policy is actually meant to block content that encourages unhealthy weight loss and showing medical conditons, like eating disorders, in a negative light, but it seems the Ads Team might not understand their own policies - Cherchez la Femme were in fact doing the opposite and encouraging body positivity.

“Ads may not depict a state of health or body weight as being perfect or extremely undesirable,” says Jenny from the Facebook Ads team in the message. “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.”   

Now if you, like us, went “HUH?!” after reading that ridiculous reply (because how does an image clearly celebrating plus size make anyone feel bad about themselves?), you’ll be happy to know that Facebook has seen the error of their ways and released a statement saying : “Our team processes millions of advertising images each week, and in some instances we incorrectly prohibit ads. This image does not violate our ad policies. We apologize for the error and have let the advertiser know we are approving their ad.”

The group admins were, of course, upset by Facebook’s so-called advice, saying in a post: “Facebook has ignored the fact that our event is going to be discussing body positivity (which comes in all shapes and sizes, but in the particular case of our event, fat bodies), and has instead come to the conclusion that we’ve set out to make women feel bad about themselves by posting an image of a wonderful plus sized woman”

They also hilariously replied to Facebook’s suggestion that they post an image of someone riding a bike with this:

Image: Facebook

This isn’t the first time Facebook has had to backpedal for making bad decisions regarding images. Recently, they’ve had to apologise for deleting an image of a woman after giving birth, this picture of two topless Aboriginal women and an image of a cancer patient’s nipple after she shared the image trying to raise awareness about symptoms.

Get your act together, Facebook. Not all nudity is meant to objectify or be harmful, and neither is sharing an image of a fat woman who is proud to be exactly that. Perhaps we should all ask why triggering images of violence or dead bodies, or children in war torn countries aren't taken down, but a nipple with a rash which isn't sexualised or meant to objectify is deleted immediately. Maybe we should talk about why things like a woman giving birth or a happy fat woman in her bikini bother us more than seeing something overtly sexist or violent.

Follow Women24 on Twitter or like us on Facebook.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Do you think it's important to get married in this day and age?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, it's important in order to create a family unit and for companionship
22% - 693 votes
Not at all. Being single is far more liberating
9% - 285 votes
There is no general answer to this, it's each to their own
50% - 1572 votes
Yes, society still frowns on unmarried people, especially women
1% - 40 votes
It depends on whether you are able to find a compatible partner
18% - 562 votes