Bil Browning

Facebook rejects lesbian movie ad

Filed By Bil Browning | April 26, 2009 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Media
Tags: Amazon, Facebook, Facebook ads, lesbian movies, social media

The social media giant Facebook recently rejected an ad for the lesbian flick "And Then Came Lola" for what it's deemed is an inappropriate image. (And, yes, ladies, you can clickety to embiggen the ad.) David at QueerMusings has the scoop:

Then_Came_Lola.jpgThe reason Facebook gives for rejecting the advert is as follows:

"The image of this ad is either irrelevant or inappropriate. Per sections 3 and 8 of Facebook's Advertising Guidelines, the image on your ad should be relevant and appropriate to the item being advertised. Make sure your image is directly relevant to what you are advertising. Images that are overly explicit, provocative, or that reveal too much skin are not allowed. Images that may either degrade or idealize any health condition or body type are also not allowed. If you choose to submit this ad again, please use an appropriate image that adheres to all of Facebook's Advertising Guidelines."

I get the overly explicit part. I don't go to Facebook to see advertisements for adult oriented sites.
...
What I don't get is the rest of the response. There's much less skin showing in the movie's picture than the one for the cruise. I don't find it any more provocative than the ad showing a gay couple enjoying themselves on the deck of the cruise ship.

When it comes to the part of an idealized body type, they may have a point. All three women look to be the typical model/actress type of build. It's not any different with the cruise ad. Neither of those men look like me. They have a pretty idealized body type.

Everything they said in their rejection is something I see everyday. I'm hoping that Facebook made an honest mistake, but I don't think they did.

What do you think, Projectors? Too explicit? Too much skin? Over-eager Facebook censor? Or just a mountain out of a molehill? Is Facebook the new Amazon? Or is this a completely different can of worms?


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None of the advertising guidelines really seem applicable in this case. I'm fairly sure the image is 'relevant and appropriate' to the film being advertised. It certainly doesn't reveal much skin, by advertising standards, nor are the body types much outside the norm for film/modeling standards. (Incidentally, I wonder if that clause is a response to the obscene amount of dieting ads that I seem to recall facebook being swamped with.)

My first reaction, though, is to wonder if the objection would be the same if there were only two women in the photo? In general, facebook seems to have been fairly receptive to 'conventional' same-sex couples, while being unaccomodating or even hostile towards poly people, trans people, and other forms of non-conformity.

Shame on Facebook for censorship that certainly seems homophobic and sexist. They owe the producers and the community an explanation and an apology.

I'll bring popcorn.

Lynn David Lynn David | April 26, 2009 6:09 PM

Lot to do over such a trifle.

My guess would be that it was rejected for suggesting a three-way, not for showing lesbians.

Superdaisy | April 26, 2009 7:08 PM

Images that may either degrade or idealize any health condition or body type are also not allowed.
So what about all those weight loss ads I get because I'm a 20something female? Do those get a pass on being skinny because the ad text, not image, touts the loss? Pft.

Content arguments aside - Facebook isn't "public space". They have every right to accept/reject any ads that they want without us screaming "discrimination" Remember, they are in the business to sell ads--bottom line, and there's is nothing wrong with that. Think of them as a magazine...but online. It's an editorial decision.

Cut them some slack. Right now they don't have the technology to place ads to specific profile, like when you search for something on google and an ad comes up on the side. However, once Google buys them (it's gonna happen) they're gonna have better technology. There are more important things to get up in arms about. Let's choose our battles.

Please, stop being scary.
First, Facebook is not "public space", they are in the business of selling ads, bottom line. So, they have the same editorial decisions that magazine editors have. This decision is not homophobic or discriminatory. They have to serve their "subscribers". And trust me, FB is not homophobic. Lot's of family working there.

Second, cut them a bit of slack. They don't have the same technology that google has. In that, they can't place ads with as much specification as a google search does (the ads on the side of your search results). And they won't have that ability until Google purchase them (it's coming).

Third, we need to learn to pick battles with more wisdom. Anything else more important that could warrant this reaction.

Fourth, it's a bad ad. It sucks. Come one. Let's admit that. I had no idea it was a movie 1 sheet. It looks like a personal service ad. Come on folks, if we are going to bitch about not being heard at the big table we need to learn to compete at the big table.

rikki lynn mordhorst | April 27, 2009 1:36 AM

maybe they would have preferred them to be sitting around having tea?

Thanks for sharing my post. As someone who is anti-censorship I understand there's a time and a place for LGBT advertising. The producers of the movie I think were trying to make sure that the proper demographics were being targeted. It's not like they were asking for the ad to appear on everyone's page.

While I don't realistically think this will blow up to be as big as the #AmazonFail fiasco, I am hoping that enough people make enough noise to force Facebook to be more honest in why the ad was rejected.

Good for facebook. A photo of people making out is inappropriate for a social networking site used mostly by teenagers. They'e bombarded all day with images of objectified bodies used to sell stuff -- the longer facebook can stay free of it, the better.

It would be interesting to see if the reaction were the same if there was a guy in middle instead, being able to share a "lesbian sandwich" (as I have heard it called). Certainly brings up many a hetero guy's ultimate fantasy, no?

Also, to golikewater: FaceBook's average user's age is 35. It is not to be confused with MySpace (average age 22).

I need to add diversity for the lesbians on my blog F6. I will accept the advertisement revenue if Facebook doesnt want it...lol.

This is way more common than alot of people think. Having bought advertising for the past 10 years on the web, I've run into this type of censorship all the time.

True/real censorship can only be applicable where free speech is involved. Paid ad space is not free speech. It's an editorial decision.

You might not agree with Facebook's decision, but you can't accuse them of censorship, discrimination or homophobia. You need to find a new argument.

Another option is for us to stay in the gay ghetto where we won't be offended so easily.

Find something else to be outraged about. That ad is inappropriate for any family type sites. Facebook is used by families and friends to keep in touch. That ad is a little too much for junior to handle.

Edward Fox Edward Fox | May 2, 2009 3:42 PM

"Censorship" is usually a governmental action. It is not censorship if Bil decides not to publish something. "Discrimination" on the other hand is entirely apt. It is less onerous if I discriminate against you than if the government does, but it is discrimination nonetheless.

I do not see how Facebook's response is appropriate. They have the right not to run the ad, but I am sure that I have seen all sorts of things on Facebook that I deem more inappropriate, less in good taste, or less relevant.

If they are systematicly discriminating against any GLBT category, then I see a problem. If they simply made a mistake or have taste that differs from mine (I thought the ad was cute and the women are hot) then I hope it blows over.