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Facebook, give me a break from your dieting ads

Date: July 30, 2013 | Posted By: Haley

Yesterday as I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, I was treated to an ad that Facebook had decided was relevant to my life as a high school female.

Screenshot of Facebook advertisement ad.

Facebook makes it very clear that it targets its ads towards specific groups of people.

The words “Skinny Confidential” headed the advertisement; below, the post expanded, informing me: “‘1 Summer Weight Loss Trick:’ This Secret Was Designed to Lose Weight and See Real Results In Just Days.”

The ad urged me to click on an included link, and was even thoughtful enough to provide me with a picture of two bikini-clad teenagers smiling arm-in-arm on a beach.

Hm. Maybe when Facebook (controversially) drew from the cookies on my computer to market specific ads toward me as a teenage female, they saw all the body-positive About-Face blog entries I had read, and that’s why they thought it would be at all appropriate to cater this ad to me.

Perhaps it was when I visited the National Eating Disorder Association website to inquire about how to bring NEDAwareness Week to my high school that made it seem like I would appreciate this advertisement.

Or maybe it was the websites I visited when I wrote an English paper urging the inclusion of fat-positive characters in children’s books that made Facebook think that I would just love some weight-loss tricks.

What the hell, Facebook?

A screenshot of a Facebook dieting ad.

An example of a Facebook dieting ad.

It is well known that Facebook has been under fire recently for disclosing information about its users to third-person parties, partly in order to cater company’s ads to certain demographic groups for monetary profit.

Though I really am not in favor of Facebook abusing my privacy, my opinion on the matter of Facebook giving away my personal information at this point seems like a different issue. Facebook, if you’re not going to stop selling my interests and “likes” to corporations, at least have the decency to spare me from your dieting advertisements.

For a company that pledges to “(take) threats of self harm very seriously,” and to “remove any promotion or encouragement of… eating disorders,” you are doing a poor job. Catering advertisements that urge me and other young people to hate our bodies is just another insidious form of thinspiration.

I’m not looking to change my body, and you shouldn’t be encouraging me to. And just so you know, spamming me with picturesque dieting ads is not going to make me any more eager to keep going on Facebook, either.

If you want to contact Facebook about the ads it is opting to show on your newsfeed, log onto Facebook, click “Help,” then “Visit the Help Center.” Scroll down to “Report Something,” click “Give Us Feedback,” and under “Facebook for Business” click “Advertising.” There will be a form that you can fill out concerning your thoughts.

Haley Zovickian is a Bay Area high school senior who loves reading, hiking, and the body-positive movement.




What Do You Think?

5 Responses to Facebook, give me a break from your dieting ads

  1. Jennifer on 07-31-2013

    I also get super annoyed when I see dieting related ads on my Facebook news feed. I've never had an eating disorder, but what if I had? It would be so triggering. I wish everyone who dislikes these ads would report them the way you suggest.
  2. vera on 07-31-2013

    i'm a huge supporter of reporting things on facebook and they should definitely know that it's not cool to support advertisements that encourage folks to change who they are in order to conform to society's norms (that aren't healthy).
  3. Liz.B on 07-31-2013

    I saw that today to!
  4. Charline on 07-12-2014

    Ola
    Eu Tambem vivo com queratocone e podem ter a certeza que a qualidade de vida devido a isto.



    Tudo começou com os meus 18 anos que sei o que é viver com ceratocone

    Ler o seu artigo ajudou-me imenso pois existe
    mesmo muitos doentes de ceratocone
    Boa sorte a todos os doentes como eu

    Cumprimentos
  5. desarrollo web barcelona on 07-21-2014

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