CENSORSHIP: Ad ban
What reason was given for your ban?
I had paid ads rejected for showing a skin condition
I was told that the photo in my ad showing my rosacea portrayed an ‘undesirable’ appearance (the exact words used in their own official guidelines at the time). After being ignored by facebook/instagram, I campaigned for change using the hashtag #undesirablesofinstagram and – after it went viral – finally managed to get instagram to agree to change the wording of their guidelines. Unfortunately, nothing has changed and they are still censoring people.
Why do you think your post(s) was censored?
I think instagram doesn’t want to show anyone outside of the very narrow beauty ideals they have selected.
Were you able to appeal and what was the response?
Yes. They told me my image showed an ‘undesirable body state’. I appealed again and they ignored me repeatedly until I wrote a blog post.. I started a viral hashtag and had multiple articles worldwide written about it. They still never got in touch with me personally, never apologised directly to me, and ignored my offer to meet with them to discuss how social media is so important to those of us who use it to find like minded communities and support for chronic illnesses.
What effect has your experience of censorship had on you?
Being told that my natural face was deemed ‘undesirable’ by one of the largest, most powerful companies in the world was really upsetting. It felt like – no matter how much work I do to raise awareness, educate, and put my vulnerable images and experiences out there to help others – facebook/instagram can still decide who gets seen and who is allowed to tell their story.
What’s one thing you want people to know about this topic?
In order to educate, support, and offer hope to those with visible differences, we need to be seen. Hiding our images behind sensitivity warnings, limiting reach on hashtags, shadow banning, and removing content means instagram becomes a homogenous and filtered experience that makes anyone who falls short feel ‘less than’. It’s damaging, discriminatory, and offensive.