‘Undesirable’ image of woman ruling forces Facebook apology

24 May 2016

Facebook has landed itself in quite the embarrassing situation after it blocked an ad that included an image of a woman, which, it said “depicts a body or body parts in an undesirable manner”.

The backlash was swift and justified, forcing the social media giant to backtrack completely, apologise and allow the ad.

The image that apparently caused such offence to Facebook is of a bikini-wearing, plus-sized model, which, in a wonderfully ironic note, was promoting positive body image.

The ad was for Australia’s Cherchez La Femme: Feminism and Fat project, with the model featured being Tess Holliday.


The organisers were obviously angered and queried the decision. “Ads may not depict a state of health or body weight as being perfect or extremely undesirable,” Facebook wrote. “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.”

That didn’t help.

‘We’re raging pretty hard over here’

“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,” the organisers said. “We’re raging pretty hard over here.”



So, yesterday, Facebook apologised, saying that it was an error that happens when processing “millions of advertising images each week”.

“To be clear, the image complies with our advertising policies. We have now approved the image and apologise for any offence this caused.”

Facebook on phone image via Chonlachai Panprommas/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic