Facebook has been forced to backtrack after it banned an Australian ad featuring bikini-clad plus-sized model, Tess Holliday, promoting positive body image, initially saying the photo's depiction was "undesirable."
When organizers questioned the decision, the Facebook Ads Team wrote back saying the ad did not comply with their health and fitness policy because "the image depicts a body or body parts in an undesirable manner".
"Ads like these are not allowed since they make viewers feel bad about themselves," said the letter to organizer Jessamy Gleeson, who posted a screen-shot of it online.
Gleeson said she was stunned that Facebook "seemingly has no idea that plus-sized, self-describing fat women can feel great about themselves."
Facebook "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."
Gleeson said Facebook later apologized for its actions, sending her a note admitting it had incorrectly reviewed the ad.
"Our policies are in place to help protect the community from offensive ads that can damage their experience on our platform," it said in a screen-shot Gleeson posted on Twitter.
"This is not the case here and I'm sorry for our incorrect review. We evaluate millions of ads per week and there are instances that we incorrectly disapprove an image that does not violate our policies."
"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)," she wrote.
As for Holliday, the model took to Twitter to express how tired she is of having to defend her body.
Kinda tired of defending my body in the plus industry when colleagues of mine who are smaller are praised for being "good role models"..— Tess Holliday (@Tess_Holliday) May 23, 2016
Bigger bodies are just as valid as smaller ones. We all deserve recognition & respect.— Tess Holliday (@Tess_Holliday) May 23, 2016
I've worked so hard to get here, but somehow it always comes back to my health, size or what they feel I'm "promoting". Let a girl live.— Tess Holliday (@Tess_Holliday) May 23, 2016
My body isn't a joke, or a punchline for your amusement.— Tess Holliday (@Tess_Holliday) May 23, 2016
Facebook has yet to address why they tagged Holliday's body as "undesirable" in the first place.
With files from Monika Markovinovic.
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