January 14, 2014

"The images are considered to be promoting idealised physical appearances and are policy violating..."

Says email from Facebook to Marilyn McKenna, the wife of a former Washington State Attorney General, according to an Australian news site, linked at Drudge. I don't believe that Facebook would write to some lady in Washington and spell "idealised" like that, so at least one letter of that email was changed.

Anyway, McKenna paid to "boost" her post, which Facebook considers advertising, and the policy relates to ads, not (apparently) just posting on Facebook about how beautiful you consider some physique. McKenna is showing off her weight loss by standing with both of her legs inside one leg of an old pair of pants. I can see how this looks like various annoying ads that appear on other websites, showing before and after pictures to lure folks into buying some diet product. So I don't see the problem with Facebook — previously ad-free and now risking user rejection — having some picky policy about what makes an ad acceptable. From the Facebook spokesperson:
"The image used here is of a woman standing in a large pair of pants holding the waist band out to show weight loss. The images are considered to be promoting idealised physical appearances and are policy violating... It is also worth noting that things like before and after photos, images with scales, tape measures, zoomed in body parts are also considered to be promoting idealised physical images and are not allowed."
McKenna says: "I can't even fathom what they're thinking. I call bulls*** on Facebook." I call bullshit on expressing disagreement by pretending not to understand.

27 comments:

Brennan said...

Facebook to God: "Your posts are blocked for promoting an idealised lifestyle."

I also do think that Facebook staff would spell idealized as idealised. That is the British spelling of the word. It's not clear where the Facebook staffer originates, but I would wager that Facebook internal communications have the American versus British spelling battle nearly every minute of every day.

Broomhandle said...

"Fat, dumb, and liberal, is no way to go through life, son."

SGT Ted said...

WTF is an "idealized lifestyle" offensive now?

If it were about it being an ad, why did they go out of their way as to note what the content was, making it sound like they were banning it because it "fat shaming", rather than a mundane violation of ad content?

FB itself sells "boosts" for bands, or whoever that have FB pages they want more exposure for. It costs money. Maybe they are just jealous.

SGT Ted said...

If I spend 10 bux a day, I can get 10-59 "likes" for my bands FB page. That's a FB feature. Isn't that special?

SGT Ted said...

It IS bullshit if they banned it because of fat shaming.

DanTheMan said...

This is really ironic, considering that facebook was started by guys trying to find cute girls.

Fen said...

Shorter FB: "Women have such delicate sensibilities they must be protected from reality"

Sean Gleeson said...

I do like your typo: "both of her legs inside one leg of an old pair of paints." I keep picturing her standing in two buckets of paint. And I wonder if Facebook would have approved that image.

tim maguire said...

Self-improvement is banned in Facebook ads? And it's an ad if you pay to have it slapped in your friends' faces?

Prof., I would like more information on your "pretending not to understand" comment. What's to understand about having a policy against healthy living and the many obvious benefits thereof?

She's not saying she doesn't understand the policy, she's saying she doesn't understand the purpose. I don't either.

Ann Althouse said...

paints… pants…

sorry

fixed

Ann Althouse said...

@tim

It's something I cannot stand, people arguing that they don't understand the argument on the other side, but it's possible that the lady really can't "fathom" it, and you say that you can't.

I thought my post explained the argument. Facebook began and acquired its huge number of users by not having any ads. Now, it's trying to monetize, but it has to worry about losing people.

Instead of accepting all ads, it has some general standards. These standards are oriented to not pissing off the users who were used to the ad-free version.

Ads promoting weight loss with images of idealized bodies were deemed potentially off-putting to users and got put in the policy. Then the policy must be enforced, as written, uniformly. That's the fairest way.

"Boosted posts" might not seem like traditional ads but the policy is that they are. They're part of the monetization plan and treated the same way.

This lady paid to have her post pushed onto other people's page. I think the boosted post is especially likely to piss off users.

It's not hard to understand, so I think professing not to understand is bullshit. It's at least willfully dumb. I want to hear the argument she (or you) would make after you force yourself to understand the argument. I call bullshit because I think this refusal to understand is done in lieu of making a real argument on the other side.

I think this kind of debate tactic is used by people who don't have a good argument (or who don't want to be part of helping other people understand their opponent's argument).

Fen said...

Perhaps the "I don't understand" line is a measure of grace, in the vein of "surely you can't be so sensitive to find such a tame advert to be offensive, so what is it?"

Fen said...

It's like being offended by a
"financial health" advert. The problem is not with the ad, its with those who faint at the sight of it.

hawkeyedjb said...

If it weren't for the pursuit of Women of Idealized Physical Appearance, a lot of men would never get out of bed in the morning.

Michael K said...

The Facebook ads are annoying enough.

Michael said...

I don't understand how you sell ads without allowing people to pose a problem which you then solve, though. What in advertising ISN'T selling the desirability of some other lifestyle choice, or more effective way to get to one?

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Is Facebook still a thing?

Oclarki said...

How come the workout mom could post all of her pictures on FB without consequence?

Fred Drinkwater said...

My personal calendar shows my next planned Facebook login not until April 2014. So this kerfuffle will be long over, and FB policy will have changed to allow more such ads.
Given their history, how can anyone take seriously an argument that contains the implication that FB is worried about pissing off its subscribers?

Ann Althouse said...

"How come the workout mom could post all of her pictures on FB without consequence?"

Was hers a "boosted" post (ie, an ad)?

ALP said...

These standards are oriented to not pissing off the users who were used to the ad-free version.
*******
That's some wishful thinking there! As one who used FB in early days, then left once it became clear it had turned into a marketing tool, I'd say that ship had sailed long ago. The overall tone and direction of FB is enough to piss of anybody who used it in early days, regardless of establishing standards for ads. The real problem with FB is that it used to be a place to go to...like a coffee shop, but it morphed into a fucking Big Brother like entity popping up EVERYWHERE. Someday, I expect to see toilet paper with that damn lower case "f" on it so folks can integrate the quality of their stools into their status updates.

I will not be surprised when that day comes.

JRH, esq. said...

>> I want to hear the argument she (or you) would make after you force yourself to understand the argument. I call bullshit because I think this refusal to understand is done in lieu of making a real argument on the other side.

You live in the academic fishtank and can therefore easily understand such highly-abstracted and attenuated concepts as "idealized body image" as being an actual THING. Normal (i.e., non-seminar attending)people see that phrase as exactly the sort of meaningless verbal hodgepodge that people throw out when they want to prove that they are both smarter and morally superior to the person being addressed, but don't actually want to explain anything.

In other words, normal folks see a picture of someone who actually lost weight as something to be proud of. In contrast, doctrinare lefty twits see it as something inherently fake and/or dangerous because it might offend the theoretical larger than culturally-normed community, or mislead a member of a victim group into thinking weight loss is possible or (even worse)desirable. That sort of cruel interference with self-acceptance must be suppressed for the greater good, over which doctrinaire lefty twits are self-appointed enforcers.

Any more questions, Prof?

DanTheMan said...

JRH,
I'm so glad you are against trying to appear smarter and morally superior to others.

Fen said...

I didn't read it that way, why did you?

Eric said...

I don't believe that Facebook would write to some lady in Washington and spell "idealised" like that, so at least one letter of that email was changed.

Depending on where the email originated. I'll bet they use the British variant in India.

I'm with McKenna - Facebook has every right to balk at advertising, but the idea someone who isn't obese is "idealised" won't be taken seriously outside a women's studies department.

Kirk Parker said...

ALP,

"... so folks can integrate the quality of their stools into their status updates."

The first person who actually does this will be German.

Laura said...

So what eggsactly is the idealized feminine lifestyle, the odalisque or the courtesan? The humble or the Tiger mother?