Disability, Lifestyle, social media

Disability is not good for Facebook says: ‘Facebook’.

By Simon Sansome

In an astonishing recorded call from Facebook, listen below.

Screenshot 2019-04-08 at 16.59.21.png


Ability Access is the UK’s largest disability page with over 12,000 followers and often goes viral. This week is no exception, with reaching an audience of over 5 million people and 1.5 million interactions.

Earlier this week, Ability Access, was blocked from inviting people to like the page after getting over 3000 new likes.

Scheduling a call with Facebook Marketing Team to resolve this issue, we asked why we had been blocked and their reply is shocking and possibly discriminatory.

In a recorded conversation the operator who is a marketing expert at Facebook said: “You will have to understand that some people see disability as disturbing, you will have to think about it like that”.

The operator then went on to say “I have never come across a page that promotes disability”.

Simon – “So, to promote my page, I need to go through customer service again, because I have been banned from promoting my page on disability”.

Operator “Yes, yes”.

Ability Access was set up in 2016 to get people talking about disability in the UK. It is a well-known platform in the UK in the disabled community and used by multiple organisation to promote disability charities, community events and is seen as a social hub in the disabled community.

As a disabled journalist I could not believe what was happening, when I say in the conversation, I had to leave the room I reached for my zoom (a recording device used by journalists) and was waiting for it to load up.

What happed in this conversation was just shocking and quite sad, for the disabled community as millions of people with disabilities use Facebook as their main communication tool and to have an employee to say  “You will have to understand that some people see disability as disturbing, you will have to think about it like that” and to find out we have been blocked from inviting people to the page takes away a person’s freedom of speech.

Ability Access will be contacting Facebook for a comment on this story and will update readers on the reply.


A Facebook spokesperson have said: “We apologies profusely to Simon Sansome and the Ability Access community that they had this experience, and wanted to take the time to help explain why this happened. What Mr. Sansome was told is incorrect and should not have been said. The advert in question was not rejected for featuring disturbing content. It was, however, rejected for depicting adult content as there is a partially covered topless female in the video. If Mr. Sansome is able to remove this particular image from the video, the advert would be approved and allowed to run.

“We are investigating what happened here and will provide additional training to the team that spoke with Mr. Sansome. This community, like many other Groups and Pages for disability in the UK, is doing great work and we’re proud that they are using Facebook to reach people.” – Facebook spokesperson.

The picture in question is the image of Vicky Balch, who was the victim of the Alton Towers accident in 2015, she lost her leg.


For me this is an empowering photo and published on Ability Access on the 1stFeb 2017. The photo shoot was for Vicky to build herself confidence and was published in many UK newspapers and posted over social media. Facebook have advised that if I take this image down, they will allow me to invite people to the page.

I would like to inform Facebook; I have no intention of removing this image as it is a picture of a wonderful brave woman showing off her disability.



54 thoughts on “Disability is not good for Facebook says: ‘Facebook’.”

  1. So myself and millions like me aren’t welcome at Facebook. Ok then maybe its time we all closed our accounts and see how quickly things change when advertisers shun FB as a platform to promote their goods.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. People use Facebook, some of those people are disabled. Some are married to those with disability. Some have children with a disability. Some have friends who have disabilities, some work with those with disability.

      It’s been a long time since we put those with a disability in Asylums.

      This touches everyone not just those with a disability.

      I think Facebook are underestimating the public.

      Possibly this was a personal opinion from someone who has a problem with people being different.


    2. This is disgusting. They can’t blame the image. I follow lots of photography pages and there is still an antiquated preoccupation with naked women on these pages. They have no problem promoting this “art”
      Well done for defending disability and art related to it.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. it’s not just millions that were offended by this, everyone in the last three generations has some sort of disability, hidden or otherwise. As a millennial who suffers from mental illness and frequently uses Facebook to communicate, not just with friends, but potential employers, I cannot condone this woman’s outlook, it is of an ableist personality, one who does not believe mental and physical illness/limitations as made clear by the statement “You will have to understand that some people see disability as disturbing, you will have to think about it like that.” If we allow people to think like this then history is doomed to repeat itself, those with physical disabilities will be forced to remain in hospitals, no longer allowed to care for themselves as they so please, and those with mental illness will be ripped from their families and put in psych wards and mental institutions just like they were back in the 1800’s(read a book)…I don’t believe this woman understands the repercussions and consequences of her words/actions, nor do I believe that she was educated properly on basic human rights. If Facebook does not fire this woman they are going to be looking at law suits out the ass from a majority of their user base.


      1. 1800s Brittany? This was still going on in the 1960s!! I am Baby Boomer or Gen X depending on what interpretation you use. But it wasn’t so long ago


  2. That’s appalling.very narrow minded.the world is made up of all types of people, disabled people too.and has an abled body person,but hearing impaired.I find it absolutely humbling for me.to see people who over come there own adversities. The human spirit is so admirable.anyone could end up disabled at any time.an accident or illness. More cover of disabled on Facebook or tv.highlights the struggles we all have to get what is right and should be the norm.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I cannot quite believe what I am hearing here. You handled yourself so well. I sincerely hope something comes from this, please let us know if there is any people power or numbers you need for any action. This is awful.


  3. Disgusting behavior from Facebook, I’m disabled, I lov fb, don’t people understand disabled people are not horrible people, but we get ridiculed for being disabled x


  4. As a blind individual, I find this absolutely a palling, disturbing, and absolutely atrocious! How can we live in a society where views like this still exist?


  5. What is disturbing is the phone call, not the ability access blog. People who find disabilities disturbing are simple-minded idiots. Facebook can kiss my disabled ass.


  6. im just speechless. Fb you disgust me by alienating disabled people( yes they are people too!!!)
    You seriously need to rethink your inadequate decision on this as it is an immoral & discriminatory & is extreemly distressing to many thousands of disabled folk who would otherwise have little if not any contact with the outside world. Evem “You” could become disabled in the blink of an eye, just think on that !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Having reported many pornographic pictures to Facebook in the past, I can tell you that this picture does not violate their Community Standards. So their response is equally appalling!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Facebook absolutely allows disgusting photos of people doing disgusting things. This photo is tasteful and has an art like quality. It simple discrimination because someone somewhere is uncomfortable seeing a beautiful woman who is missing part of her leg. Too bad for them. Facebook can cover the video with a warning the some may find it upsetting, and let the video stand for those of us who are not so delicate. Keep fighting for the rights of people with disabilities! We stand with you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Definitely discrimination considering I have reported pictures of animal and human abuse and Facebook has said they don’t violate their rules but a beautiful lady missing a leg is offensive. Get a life Facebook!


  9. Facebook won’t allow this photo but has no problems letting people post pictures of babies coming out of a vagina (up close and disgusting) I understand some might see it as a joyous occasion but some don’t. I don’t want to see it or my kids seeing it. They don’t block them but this picture goes against standards?? This picture is mild. Facebook you suck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. K.R. Babies being born naturally coming out of vaginas aren’t disgusting either, and shame on you for such misogyny which is also a hatred against women, just as bad as disability discrimination. If you’d said images of porn then fair enough


    2. What is so disgusting about babies being born and close ups of vaginas? That is misogyny and as bad as disability hatred


  10. I run a page in FB for kids with Special Needs and has over 270k followers. We used to get thousands of likes and lots of commebts and shares and suddenly around 3wks ago our post reach has went from thousands to 10 or 20 or maybe 35 reach if we’re lucky!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Absolutely speechless…it’s 2019 not 1819! This sort of behaviour by platforms like FB should be challenged – socially and legally! The image by the way shows no more flesh than someone n an underwear commercial. Get real FB and grow up!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m the creator of CAW360 Network, a health network featuring hosts/shows on all mental, physical, holistic..anything dealing with we will eventually cover.
    Since we started covering chronic pain patients and the issues with pain medications, my personal fb account and CAW fb group has been on different levels of Facebook. Ie I created time lapse videos of sunrises off my back deck with a poem called “just like you” focusing on what it’s like growing up with rare, painful and incurable diseases.
    It was to give hope and understanding that you aren’t alone when dealing with disabilities. Here is a link to the poem https://youtu.be/M8q9Zvx8zz0. Yet when I tried to post it to fb support groups I would get a message stating I’m temporarily blocked from posting because the content was spam or inappropriate. When did Facebook take over the responsibilities of moderators and admins of these private support groups? When did we okay fb to censor us when trying to support one another that is forced to live with such illnesses?
    This is happening in many health communities across the board.

    Thank you for sharing this blog. I hope Facebook will take a hard look at their behavior and actions of their workers. Freedom of speech!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I am in no way find any problems with this picture! How brave of her to take it and show the loss of her leg!

    Shame on Facebook! It’s OK for models or actors or singers to wear clothing that basically shows it all but this lady Is seen as something too provocative?!

    It is very upsetting to hear and read that anybody had such an issue! Thank you for sharing the info.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Most people would be too embarased to be photographed naked, let alone with such a disability, even glamour models get photoshopped to remove blemishes, imperfections, cellulite, birth marks etc.

    As there is nothing ‘on show’, the only thing offensive, off putting and disgusting in all of this is Facebook’s attitude and response.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. They forget a lot, like the fact that the disabled, just by being disabled and having time on their hands, are perhaps some of the largest Facebook users. Oh, and we also vote. #showupandshine #painpatientsvote #disabilitymatters

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Facebook is a hypocrite. I’m glad you refused to bow down to pressure. I see images on pages that ARE disturbing and yet, they are allowed to continue to draw in members and advertise without prejudice. Why should we back down because “some” find the image *disturbing*. What’s disturbing is those that would report an image of a beautiful woman, because she’s disabled.

    The world has gone mad. Facebook, I suggest you rethink and balance the number of members who reported the image as “disturbing” against the number of members you have who have disabilities and decide based on decency and common sense. Discrimination is illegal by the way.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. So, I gather Facebook had complaints about the photo? I’m glad you didn’t now down to their demand. I see plenty of actual disturbing images on pages on here yet they continue to be used. Yet a beautiful woman in a decent modest pose, you can’t see anything that’s indecent, is somehow disturbing, what, because she doesn’t have part of a leg? Disabilities come in different forms, so Facebook, you’d best rethink your attitude and balance the small number of disturbed individuals that obviously complained about a photo of a woman that is not in the slightest bit disturbing, to the number of disabled users you have. We outnumber them, and we are a valuable asset to your business. More likely to be online and using as a community hub and our way to keep in contact with the outside world when we have limitations physically or mentally to be out in it.

    We will stand together and with Vicky and Ability Access. If it was disturbing then of course it should be removed. But it isn’t. National papers and TV didn’t find it disturbing so, why would social media.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Reblogged this on Nathan Lee Davies and commented:
    This is most concerning and deeply troubling.

    My first thought was to boycott Facebook and close my personal pages. On further thought I have decided that it is more productive for me to continue my activism on disability rights through Facebook and hope that I can change perceptions of disability.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Reblogged this on Fanny's Law of Attraction Experiment and commented:
    Another Reblog , which I really don’t like to do. But this is absolutely appaling, and needs to be spread far and wide.
    There is NOTHING wrong with the photo. Many of us have reported graphic porn and been told it doesn’t violate community standards, so her lack of clothing is NOT what offends facebook, it’s her lack of limbs!


  20. What is up with our world these days? It feels like we are going backwards, back to the dark ages, ignorance is bliss, and lack of empathy compassion and support for anyone who is “different” . It would be beneficial for Facebook to remember that a high percentage of people with disabilities, myself included, use Facebook to stay connected with others and reduce the increased isolation that health issues and disability can cause. If everyone of us, and those that support us closed our accounts, imagine the msg that it would send and the hit Facebook would take. There are plenty of sites these days that are similiar to Facebook….


  21. The thing is, if you read through the policies of Facebook advertising, is that no matter who you are displaying in the ad, Facebook is disapproving ads based on nudity, regardless if you have a disability or not. It is not the disability variable that Facebook is disapproving, it is the nudity factor.

    There is, unfortunately, no ad policy that approves ONLY ads with naked people with disabilities if that is what you want… I guess we have to wait for this specific policy to appear.


  22. Hasn’t Sansome ever heard about amputee fetishism? Oh I bet he has. This image is exactly what those folks find delightful. Should they have their delightful, SEXY images? OK, why not? But what FB is faced with is the razor’s edge that separates exploitation and “pride.” One panders (for profit) to a group of people who are in thrall to a certain body modification (whether accidental or not) and their “stump-love” is compelling. Pride, on the other hand doesn’t pander, doesn’t use sex to sell, doesn’t tap into the compulsions of people. I don’t know the photographer, and I think it would be interesting and informative to have a conversation with him. But if a rather sheltered old middle-class woman like me knows about this issue and the GI-NORMOUS problem that FB has in censorship, surely he does too. But if he cries out that FB is somehow not supportive of people with disability, he can get around the fetish issue. Smart! Slick!


    1. Has MARYANN HARDY (above) ever heard of Listening to the actual recording?

      To quote the Fakebook jobsworth –
      “Some people find it disturbing to see pictures of disabled people”

      Has MARYANN HARDY (above) ever heard of Alison Lapper –

      Has MARYANN HARDY (above) from Nanoose Bay, British Columbia ever been anywhere civilised? or at least in the 21st century? She clearly has no idea of how appallingly disabled people are treated in the UK, mostly by the government… And desperately keen to defend Fakebook.
      Does Nanoose Bay, British Columbia have any disabled people? Or were they all burned at the stake for being possessed by demons?


  23. “Licking the Virgin”, a video I made (another wonderful brave woman showing off her disability) in 1990, showcased on Vimeo and appreciated and praised by many artists.
    “So beautiful! A true work of art.”


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