Body image

'530 Fatties': Facebook page targeted overweight teens

July 23, 2014 at 10:46 AM ET

Disgusting. Horrible. Hurtful.

That's how TODAY anchors described a purported Facebook page called “530 Fatties.” The page, which is no longer on the site, featured photos of overweight people, mostly teenagers, living in the 530 area code that covers part of Northern California, mocking them for their weight.

Video: A Facebook page called “530 Fatties” contains photos of overweight and obese people in the 530 area code region of Northern California. The page has been taken down and put back up several times. Facebook said the page violates their policies.

While the anchors were outraged, one woman who found her picture on the page said she didn’t let the social media fat shaming bother her.

“I’m thankful I have enough confidence and self esteem,” the unidentified woman told TODAY, in comments read by Natalie Morales. “I love myself, big or small. If I knew who the person was, I would let them know they didn’t hurt my feelings or bring me down. I’m still me.”

It’s not clear if it was Facebook or the page creator who took it down, only for it to pop back up overnight, and be taken down again. The social networking giant told TODAY that the page violates its community standards and said bullying and harassment are not tolerated.

“We allow users to speak freely on matters and people of public interest, but take action on all reports of abusive behavior directed at private individuals,” Facebook said in a statement.

“It’s disgusting,” Willie Geist said, “and you wonder about the kind of person who takes the time and energy to build a page to shame people like that.”

Morales’ take: “This one is just horrible.”

The Facebook shaming campaign is only the latest example of cultural insensitivity on the Internet and social media, similar to the photo collection “People of Walmart," which ridicules Southern shoppers. 

“This is what you do with your time?’” Hall said. “And you wonder why kids bully.”

Of the fat-shaming Facebook page, Hall said she’s glad it was taken down.

“Do you know how hurtful that is, for the person who goes on there and sees their face?” she said. “It’s so hurtful.”

Morales said she hoped that airing the story would help educate people that there’s a better way to be, adding: “We should be well above that by now.”

Hall agreed, but added, “I’m skeptical.”

Lisa A. Flam is a news and lifestyles reporter in New York. Follow her on Twitter.

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