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Facebook dumps ‘feeling fat’ option after online campaign

The online campaign garnered close to 16,000 signatures.

Written by Vishnu Varma | New Delhi |
Updated: March 12, 2015 4:38:18 pm
facebook, feeling fat, feeling fat emoji, #FatIsNotAFeeling, obesity Facebook A screenshot of the petition on change.org

In an affirmative move towards discouraging obesity and disordered eating, Facebook announced on Tuesday that it was officially dumping the ‘feeling fat’ emoticon from status updates on its website in response to an online campaign.

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In a statement, Facebook said, “We’ve heard from our community that listing “feeling fat” as an option for status updates could reinforce negative body image, particularly for people struggling with eating disorders. So we’re going to remove “feeling fat” from the list of options. We’ll continue to listen to feedback as we think about ways to help people express themselves on Facebook.”

‘Feeling fat’ was one among a large number of emoticons that a person on Facebook can use to complement their status updates. It is no longer visible. The same emoji is however available with the ‘feeling stuffed’ option.

The decision came after a campaign was kick-started on change.org — a popular website that allows users to file petitions and collect signatures to initiate a process of change. This particular petition against Facebook’s ‘feeling fat’ emoticon was jointly started by Catherine Weingarten and Endangered Bodies, an initiative against negative body image and garnered more than 16,000 signatures.

The petition posted on change.org talks about how a person posting the emoji (one with chubby cheeks and a double chin) on Facebook could be making fun of people who consider themselves to be overweight.

“As someone who has struggled with and overcome disordered eating, I know what it’s like to “feel” fat. I have spent years of my life consumed with negative thoughts about my body, and far too many days starving myself in an effort to lose weight. But even worse than the skipped meals and the hours spent obsessing in front of the mirror was the fear of what others thought about me and my body,” the petition reads.

Asserting that ‘fat is not a feeling’, the petition asked people to demand the social networking giant to remove the emoji from its status updates.

Multiple studies have shown that Facebook, which has close to 1.4 billion users, often helps enforce behavioral patterns and user thinking.

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