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An Open Letter to Meta, End AI Size Discrimination

This is an urgent appeal to Meta to tackle AI size discrimination—a critical algorithm flaw that unfairly targets and penalizes individuals in larger bodies.

plus size woman facing AI Size Discrimination with the word "censored" over her chest

As a content creator focused on plus size pregnancy and body positivity for over a decade, I’ve grown a Facebook page to 231,000 followers. Additionally, my Instagram pages for my @plusmommy and @plussizebirth communities are followed by tens of thousands.

I became Meta Verified to help protect my accounts following an incident in 2022 when a photo, which you’ll see below, was flagged for being inappropriate for children.

plus mommy cover photo
Meta IA banning plus size creator
Meta AI size-discrimination

My AI Size Discrimination Story

A stock photo featuring a mom and her kid exercising, which I proudly used as the cover for my Plus Mommy Facebook page, got incorrectly flagged for nudity.

It’s my understanding that this was due to artificial intelligence (AI) flagging the amount of skin the mom shows in her sports bra.

After my Facebook and Instagram accounts were unjustly banned, I challenged the decision via the appeals process.

I also reached out to connections I was fortunate enough to have made at a Meta event. They initiated a ticket for an actual human to examine my photo and confirm there was nothing inappropriate about it.

Even with direct support, resolving the issue took 24 grueling days during my peak season as a full-time content creator. The emotional and financial strain was significant.

When I was reinstated without any explanation, I requested a conversation with Meta to address the AI size discrimination issue.

I didn’t receive a reply, and a year passed by.

On November 30th, 2023, I shared moments of joy on my @plusmommy Instagram in a two-piece bathing suit, celebrating my birthday at a hot springs.

Below are the three images I shared to encourage my community to focus on self-care.

Jen McLellan
Jen McLellan Meta IA Discrimination
Jen McLellan IA Discrimination

It never crossed my mind that these photos could be seen as inappropriate.

Far more skin is showcased daily on Facebook and Instagram by those in smaller bodies. I don’t even need to provide examples to make that point.

On December 4th, I was blindsided by a notification of a suspension from Meta.

Shockingly, once I logged onto Instagram I was provided with no avenue to challenge the suspension.

Plus Mommy Instagram Ban

Despite having Meta Verification on both my Instagram and Facebook accounts, which I assumed would protect my content or at least allow me to reach out directly to a Meta representative in these scenarios, I found myself entirely locked out.

Ironically, the only way I could find to initiate a chat for Meta Verified users is through the apps. But since Meta has blocked me from Instagram and my personal Facebook page, I’m unable to use this feature.

Essentially, I’m paying for a service that I’m barred from accessing, and that’s simply unjust.

My only page to remain active was my Plus Mommy Facebook page because I have admin, but I didn’t have any access.

So, twelve years of nurturing online communities and pouring my heart into my role as a full-time blogger and podcaster all seemingly erased in an instant.

Why? For being fat!

I believe that, once again, AI is to blame for my ban.

Having more skin as a person in a larger body doesn’t equate to inappropriateness or a breach of Meta’s policies.

In fact, Meta has stated a dedication to “Fairness and Inclusion” as one of its five pillars of responsible AI.

The pledge that “everyone should be treated fairly” and that their products “should work equally well for all people” is undermined by instances where the AI wrongfully penalizes plus size individuals for having more skin.

Challenging AI Size Discrimination

The issue of AI and its perception of larger bodies is not a new challenge in the realm of social media and technology.

In my opinion, for years, individuals in larger bodies have faced unjust scrutiny and bias from AI algorithms, often leading to unwarranted flagging or censoring of their content.

This issue goes beyond mere technical glitches; it touches on deeper societal biases that these algorithms, perhaps inadvertently, perpetuate.

However, change is on the horizon!

Thanks to the tireless efforts of fat advocates like Tigress Osborn, Chair of NAAFA, Pinterest has announced an industry-first body type technology to enhance body representation on its platform.

This move by Pinterest sets a precedent for other tech giants, including Meta. If Pinterest can innovate to better represent and respect diverse body types, Meta has the capacity and responsibility to improve its AI algorithms.

By addressing the issue of AI size discrimination, Meta can align its technology with the inclusive values it professes, ensuring that all users, regardless of body size, are treated fairly and respectfully.

Simultaneously, it’s crucial they continue to protect the community from truly inappropriate images.

This is not just an opportunity for Meta to rectify a flaw but also to lead in the realm of digital inclusivity and fairness.

As a small business owner, being banned once more was devastating. And I know I’m not the only content creator being impacted.

Thankfully, a Meta contact responded to my desperate pleas for support and got a ticket opened.

On December 6th, I was informed the team had reviewed my request and determined the account was incorrectly disabled.

I received an apology for any inconvenience.

While I’m relieved, reinstatement alone won’t fix the underlying problem—I’ll continually fear future bans.

I need your support in raising awareness to combat AI size discrimination.

Let’s make a change together!

Five ways you can get involved: 

Contact Meta: Use these steps to report a problem with Facebook. I also encourage Meta Verified people to use the chat feature to raise awareness of AI size discrimination. 

Please share any effective options for contacting Meta in the comments of this article. 

Support Affected Individuals: Amplify the voices of those affected by AI size discrimination by sharing their stories and content, like this article my Instagram reel below.

Participate in Online Forums and Discussions: Engage in conversations on platforms like Reddit, LinkedIn, or specialized tech forums.

Media Outreach: Reach out to journalists or bloggers who cover tech and social issues, suggesting they report on AI size discrimination.

Support Advocacy Groups: Donate to organizations or groups that advocate for people in larger bodies like NAAFA and ASDAH.

Thank you for your support! Our collective voice can bring about meaningful change.

Update: On December 6th, I successfully regained access to my @plusmommy Instagram account, and regained access to all my other accounts on December 13th. This positive outcome was made possible thanks to the direct intervention of a contact at Meta. Without their assistance, I would have faced the loss of my accounts with no opportunity to challenge what was unjust suspension. I have requested my contact at Meta to relay my concerns higher up in the company. Moving forward, I am committed to raising awareness and addressing the issue of AI size discrimination.