Facebook is facing backlash for banning an ad campaign by an Australian breast cancer nonprofit. The social media platform said the ad violates its guidelines on nudity.
The Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) attempted to run the ads Wednesday for a campaign with Australian bakery chain Bakers Delight. 100% of the proceeds for sales of the bakery’s “Pink Fun Buns” will go to the nonprofit — last year, the collaboration raised $1.6 million.
The ads feature topless breast cancer survivors posing with baked goods to cover their breasts. The slogans for the ads are “Breast cancer comes in all shapes and sizes” and “Every fun bun counts.” Some of the models have visible mastectomy scars.
While Facebook’s community standards allow users to share photos of post-mastectomy scarring, its advertiser guidelines strictly prohibit “excessive visible skin or cleavage, even if not explicitly sexual in nature.” Facebook previously approved the ads, but has since said they are in violation of the policy, BCNA told CBS News Friday.
According to BCNA, the ads were designed to show “the reality of a breast cancer diagnosis.” The nonprofit said all of the survivors volunteered to share their stories for the ads, and hope to “raise awareness of the importance of support and highlight the far-reaching effects of breast cancer.”
The campaign is also centered around “breast friends” — the people who are there for support while going through a cancer diagnosis. “Each survivor holds a different shaped bun or roll over their breasts to highlight that support comes in all shapes and sizes,” BCNA wrote in a statement.
“When you find out you have breast cancer, your whole world is turned upside down and your support network becomes really important to you,” BCNA CEO Kirsten Pilatti said. “Many people have told us they were surprised and moved by the people who stepped up and provided real support. Those people who are really there for you become your ‘breasties’.”
According to BCNA and Facebook, the ads may still run if they are modified to comply with the platform’s policies. “I love these ads and our team has been working hard with Bakers Delight to allow them to run on our platforms,” Antonia Sanda, Head of Communications at Facebook ANZ, told CBS News Friday. “We recognize the importance of ads about breast cancer education or teaching women how to examine their breasts and we allow these on our platforms.”
“However, these specific ads do not contain any of these messages, rather it is a brand selling a product,” Sanda continued. “We have been working with the advertiser for a number of weeks to advise them how we can run these ads and are disappointed that they have not taken our guidance.”
Pilatti said BCNA will continue to share the photos across social media and hopes that Facebook will consider reversing its “unexpected and disappointing” decision.