Instagram’s censorship policy has been called into question after warnings were placed on a post by Celeste Barber, a comedian who parodies images of glamorous models. Replicating the amount of flesh shown in a Victoria's Secret advert, Instagram’s algorithms demonstrated some interesting double standards.
Barber’s parodies poke fun at the perfect bodies that saturate our media, and her pastiche of a photo of naked Candice Swanepoel concealing her breast with her hand prompted a strange response from Instagram. Fans wishing to share Barber’s post in their stories were denied. “Your post goes against our community guidelines on nudity or sexual activity,” users were told.
Instagram’s battle with levels of flesh — particularly female flesh — are complex. As this Guardian article points out, this is certainly not the first time that Instagram’s censorship has been called into question. Model Nyome Nicholas-Williams repeatedly saw one of her photographs censored by Instagram despite the fact that her breasts were concealed and the photograph was not indecent, especially compared to many of the far more risqué images posted by models who conform to mainstream beauty standards. As Pedestrian.tv points out, Instagram’s censorship seems to discriminate against anyone “bodies that are not thin and white.”
Instagram has apologized to both Barber and Nicholas-Williams.