Facebook Apologizes After Banning Photo of Plus Size Model for Being ‘Undesirable’

Facebook is in hot water again after banning an Australian ad featuring a bikini-clad plus-sized model promoting positive body image.

The company initially considered the photo “undesirable.”

Facebook claimed the image of Tess Holliday, the first woman of her size to be signed by a major modelling agency, depicted “a body or body parts in an undesirable manner.”

The image was used to promote an upcoming body positivity event by Australian feminist organization Cherchez la Femme titled “Feminism and Fat.” In the image, size 26 Holliday is shown wearing a bikini, which violated Facebook’s “health and fitness” policy according to the company’s advertising team.

When the event organizers reached out to Facebook, they were informed that “close-ups of ‘muffin tops’ where the overhanging fat is visible, people with clothes that are too tight, people pinching their fat/cellulite (even with full body visible)” are inconsistent with the company’s guidelines. “Ads like these are not allowed since they make viewers feel bad about themselves,” said the letter to organizer Jessamy Gleeson, who posted a screenshot of it online.

Gleeson was horrified that Facebook “seemingly has no idea that plus-sized, self-describing fat women can feel great about themselves.”

She urged followers on the platform to “rage hard at anyone who tries to tell us that some bodies are more ‘desirable’ than others.”

“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.

On Monday, Facebook backtracked and issued an apology for the ban, asserting that the photo did not, in fact, violate its policies. “Our team processes millions of advertising images each week, and in some instances we incorrectly prohibit ads,” the company 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.”

Classic PR reply.