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Facebook bans woman's weight loss photo; cites it as "adult content"

Ryan Welton Published: January 16, 2014
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Have you heard the story of the woman whose weight loss photo was rejected by Facebook for promoting “idealized physical appearances”?

Both the USA Today and News Corp Australia told the story of Marilyn McKenna, who lost more than half her weight several years ago through lap band surgery. She subsequently created a website and a blog and even wrote a book.

“Since 2007, I have lost 120 pounds and transformed myself from a fat, grumpy middle-aged woman into a fit and fearless middle-aged woman,” McKenna wrote on her website, marilynmckenna.com.

None of that is an issue, and I’d be willing to bet the executives at Facebook would be among the first to applaud McKenna on her successful transformation. But when she decided to “boost” a Facebook post with a photo that showed she could fit both of her legs into one leg of an older, much bigger pair of pants — Facebook said no go.

They disallowed it, citing it as “adult content” and adding that it promoted “idealized physical appearances.”

Video courtesy KING5 News.

 

Really? Given the start of a new year, thousands of Facebook users set weight loss goals and use the site to post photos and videos showing their progress.

Here’s the catch: Content within a boosted Facebook post falls under the same editorial guidelines as advertising.

From Facebook’s Guidelines for Advertised Products & Services:

“Ads and Sponsored Stories may not contain ‘before and after’ images or images of unexpected or unlikely results. Ads and Sponsored Stories may not depict a state of health or body-weight as being perfect or extremely undesirable (e.g. you cannot use an image showing a person measuring his/her waist or an image focused solely on a person’s abs).”

What do you think? Did Facebook go too far with this decision?

And if you run a small business, you might want to check out Facebook’s other advertising guidelines.