In September, Facebook removed an ad by Australian label Modibodi – which makes washable, period-proof underwear for women – for allegedly violating its community standards. It’s now reversed its decision.
The 60-second short film, titled The New Way to Period, was taken down after it was automatically flagged as “containing shocking, sensational, disrespectful or excessively violent content” by the social-media platform’s AI moderators.
Modibodi ensures all its ads include honest depictions of menstruation, a perfectly natural bodily function, without leaning on the naff euphemisms and blue dye that dominate ads for pads and tampons. Its latest, which, among other things, stars ordinary women dancing and curing cramps with hot chips in bed, is not exception.
"The ‘offending’ scenes were a sheet with a bloodstain, a woman wringing out her underwear in the shower, and a bin overflowing with disposable hygiene items," CEO and founder Kristy Chong told Broadsheet at the time. "Specifically, they have quoted this clause: ads must not contain shocking, sensational, disrespectful or excessively violent content.”
The Modibodi team contacted Facebook multiple times to request the ad be reviewed manually, initially to no avail. After further discussions with the company’s Sydney team, though, she managed to get the initial decision overturned.
“Advertising for personal hygiene products has come a long way in the seven years since we started Modibodi,” she says, “but many brands still feel the need to hide or gloss over the very natural process of having your period.
“[People] still struggle when seeing menstruation blood displayed on a public forum.”
While many people praised the film for its straightforward messaging and diversity – Chong said she’d been overwhelmed with support – a handful still complained to the advertising watchdog Ad Standards. So far, none have been upheld.
“The purpose of this campaign was to continue the crusade to show women that there is a sustainable way to period that offers more freedom and is better for the environment, and we hope that this is a message that continues to be spread far and wide,” Chong says.
She commended Facebook for its decision to reinstate the ad. You can check out the ad and Modibodi's range of period-proof wares here.
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