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Facebook ‘bans’ awareness posts from women’s hygiene company for using terms period, vulva and clitoris for ‘being too sexual’
- EXCLUSIVE: The campaign was forced to remove the ads for ‘being too sexual’
- Facebook said their ad campaign was ‘targeted to people aged 18 and older’
Facebook has ‘banned’ a women’s hygiene company from using the words period, vulva and clitoris as part of an anti-stigma campaign.
Bodyform, one of the UK’s leading period pad makers, posted a video on the social media platform last week that showed members of the public being quizzed on the meaning of terms related to women’s health.
But Facebook said ads on its site must not promote ‘sexual and reproductive health products or services’. Bodyform said this amounted to being told that the ad is ‘too sexual’.
Facebook said Bodyform’s ad campaign, which mentioned words related to women’s health that are usually censored online, was ‘targeted to people aged 18 and older’.
Twitter also banned the content but it was successfully posted on both TikTok and YouTube.
Bodyform — one of the UK’s leading period product brands — posted a video on the social media platform last week that showed members of the public being quizzed on the meaning of terms related to women’s health
Bodyform tried to post the 98-second clip to Facebook last week, with a post that contained the words ‘vagina’ and ‘clitoris’.
It showed a woman testing the public’s knowledge of words, such as vagina, vulva and period pains.
The campaign aimed to ‘reclaim censored words’ to normalise language around women’s health.
Research conducted by Bodyform found that over half of British women don’t feel comfortable saying these words to their doctors, and eight in 10 feel uncomfortable using terms relating to their health on social media.
But 30 minutes after attempting to upload the video, both Facebook and Twitter had rejected it.
Facebook said that if Bodyform’s ads go against their advertising standards again, it may result in their account being disabled or restricted.
An automated notification sent to Bodyform said: ‘Ads must not promote the sale or use of adult products or services.
‘Ads promoting sexual and reproductive health products or services, such as contraception and family planning, must be targeted to people aged 18 and older, and must not focus on sexual pleasure.’
After half an hour of posting the video, it was removed by Facebook for violating their advertising policies
The feminine hygiene company had to upload their video to Youtube instead and link it in a post. The post could not include words like ‘vagina’ so Bodyform had to get creative
However, Bodyform successfully uploaded it after a second attempt and spelling the words in its caption with symbols, so they read ‘V@g!na’, ‘Vul\/a’ and ‘Cl!t0r!s’.
Twitter removed the post also without giving any reason.
Bodyform has reached out to the social media platform to ask why.
However, TikTok featured the company’s video and it has since racked up more than 340,000 views. It is also on YouTube, where it has had around 1,000 views.
A spokesperson for Essity, the manufacturer of Bodyform, said language around women’s health and bodies ‘shouldn’t be censored’.
They added: ‘It makes important subjects that some already consider taboo almost impossible to talk about.
‘Periods are a natural part of day-to-day life for women of all ages. Anatomically or medically correct words shouldn’t be censored and certainly shouldn’t be labelled as an adult product or service by social media platforms.’
MailOnline has approached Facebook, Meta and Twitter for a comment.
Bodyform’s campaigns have previously triggered controversy. It’s 2022 TV ad featuring a bloody sanitary towel was the most complained ad of 2022, according to the The Advertising Standards Authority.
40 censored words from real life experiences
- Labia Minora
- Labia Majora
- Period blood
- Period Products
- Bacterial Vaginosis
- Vaginal atrophy
- Menstrual cycle
- Pelvic Prolapse
- Period blood