Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Terrible Trend – Private Message Diet Spam

pm-diet-spamI’ve been hearing more and more about a disturbing trend of people marketing their weight loss products through private message on social media.  It’s been happening for a while, but based on the number of e-mails I get about it it’s gaining a lot of traction.  Today Marjorie posted an example on my FB wall. In some cases a person joins a fat positive group and then starts private messaging people. In others they just look for fat people’s profiles and then spam them.

Let’s start with what should be blatantly obvious: This is disgusting.  This is harassment. This is objectively terrible. This should never, ever, happen.  While people who are the victims of this are allowed to handle it in whatever way they prefer, nobody is obligated to tolerate this in any way, nobody is obligated to look for “best intentions,” nobody is obligated to put up with this or hold back their profanity-laced rant.  And that would be true even if there was a chance in hell that their products would lead to long-term weight loss.

People are allowed to do whatever they want with their bodies.  People are, at least for now, allowed to sell weight loss methods that almost never work. None of that, in any way, justifies something like this:

 

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Private message that says the following (all spelling and grammar from the original.) “Hi Ashleigh, I’ve just been here looking through your photos and I’ve noticed since after Christmas your face looks a little fuller, I don’t mean to cause offence this happens to a lot of people! I don’t no if you know but I work for [redacted] and we have some amazing products that will benefit you in loosing the weight.  If you would like to discuss more please reply to this message and we can get things sorted asap [smiley face emoji]  Thank you x

Nothing will ever justify this. (I’ll also point out that it’s creepy AF – why is this person randomly looking through someone’s photos and comparing face shapes between them?) If this has happened to you, the first thing to know is that THIS SHOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED TO YOU!  So what do you do?  Here are some options:

Ignore/Delete/Block 

Say nothing to the person, block them and move on with your life.

Reply

This could be anything from heartfelt paragraph about the dangers of fatphobia, and the chances that this person could be sending e-mail to people whose eating disorders will be triggered, to a fully annotated paper about Size Acceptance and Health at Every Size. Or you could just say “How fucking dare you? This could not be more inappropriate and you need to stop doing this right now!”

Report

Send their information to the company that they are representing.  Perhaps something like:

“I wanted to let you know that [insert name and social media link] is representing your company poorly by sending unsolicited messages like this [quote message.] Obviously you know that this is inappropriate, offensive, and in addition to being fatphobic could end up triggering eating disorders.  I hope you’ll address this before more people are harmed.”

You can also report them to the social media site that they used to send it.

Name and Shame

They are so comfortable sending this out, surely they won’t mind if you let other people know about this fabulous opportunity.  Take a screenshot and send it on its way on social media.

Again, you get to decide how you deal with this, all I care about is that you know that it is well and truly bullshit. If you have other ideas for responses, please feel free to leave them in the comments!

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