Please! This insane bullying has to stop!
Dear Nicky. Dear Lilly. Dear Parry.
I write to you tonight BEGGING you to stop ignoring this insane bullying problem that you have going on on Instagram. I beg of you to be more open with how you are running things over there. It's crystal clear that things are not under control. I feel at a loss of words right now as I received YET ANOTHER violation email today! I don't even know what it could possibly be this time. WHY ON EARTH DON'T YOU TELL US?! I went through my account and deleted anything that could be offensive such as a baby bum when I got it back after my account was deleted over Mothers Day. Surely you remember me?! I accidentally sparked a pretty heated global debate after someone left a nasty comment on my breastfeeding picture and then within 8 minutes I had 7 reports against my account and when I checked Instagram, my account was no longer. Turns out discriminating against mothers gets people pretty angry! Sexualizing children gets people pretty freaked out.
So this leaves me so confused how after all this time, and with this problem only getting worse, Instagram has failed to make any changes. The actual pornography and the child pornography and drug usage and weapons and violence and hate and bullying on Instagram is out of this world!! There is so much of it and rarely does any of this get taken down no matter how many times something is reported. How is it possible that someone can report a photo of mine, and within 8 minutes my account of 4 years that documented my entire life as a mother, was just gone?! "USER NOT FOUND" even though I didn't violate any guidelines!! And now I reposted a picture on my @save_heatherbays account (that was set up to help get my @heatherbays account back) of @courtneybabyccino with her permission to support her getting her account back which was deleted because of a picture of her toddler showing her belly button and over night that picture was reported on my account and with only that ONE report my whole account was gone. I wasn't alone either. SO SO many others had the same thing happen to them. Yet all these obscene profiles that are so super easy to find that clearly violate the guidelines go untouched no matter how many reports are made. It just doesn't make sense. I thought a human that works for you viewed these? That's what many of us have been told. If that were true, then the actual problems with Instagram would get dealt with and they would have seen my account didn't violate anything and they would have reinstated it immediately. But my @save_heatherbays account is STILL not back. And lets not forget that the only reason @heatherbays was reinstated was because of the public outcry and media attention.
It says no where in the guidelines that your stupid automated email tells me to review every time I get reported that parents who show pictures of their child with a bare torso will be reported and deleted. However it does say,
"Don’t share photos or videos that show nudity or mature content. If you wouldn’t show the photo or video you are thinking about uploading to a child, or your boss, or your parents, you probably shouldn’t share it on Instagram. The same rule applies to your profile photo. Accounts found sharing nudity or mature content will be disabled and your access to Instagram may be discontinued.”
"Instagram is a diverse community, and it is likely that you will come across things that offend you. If you are offended by a photo or video that may not violate any of the above guidelines, we’d suggest you navigate away from the account, or even use our blocking feature. If you are unsure about the content, you can report it utilizing our built-in reporting functionality in order to bring it to theInstagram Team’s attention."
If in fact one of Instagrams 68 employees is personally viewing these reports and removing these images, then I am concerned about the person you hired to do that job. I also don't believe it is possible to care for a site of over 150 million users with only 68 employees, and clearly, what's happening right now on your site clarifies that.
When you rely on your users to police the site because you don't have enough staff to manage it yourself, then unfortunately mothers will continue to get kicked off the service. And abuse towards anyone and everyone will continue. Photo stealing, harassment, and bullying will continue. I have reported this account (I have not mentioned it here in social media to avoid being a bully myself even though this person deserves to be shamed) SEVERAL times and I know many others who have as well but of course that account is still up even though it violates many guidelines. There are so many groups out there that are forming to rally together to bully mothers like me. Surely you are aware of this since I am aware how many times these sites get reported! And like you say, someone reviews every report. To lose your community of mothers without warning or anyway of getting it back for reasons that are not valid, is pretty harsh! Imagine you had PPD and you use this community for support like SO many mothers do?! I just couldn't imagine how I would have handled this extreme bullying after I had my second baby and suffered with PPD. It would have felt impossible and lonely. Two things we would never want a mum with PPD to feel.
Instagram needs to be responsible for informing it's users of their policies. I have not talked to a single person who uses this App be aware that showing a child's torso is considered "child pornography" according to the IG team until it's too late and they learn through word of mouth from other users who have learned the hard way. People are worried and disgusted and shocked with this view that Instagram has. As they should be. I now know a group of thousands of mothers that have had pictures reported and lost their online communities for posting pictures of their children in cloth diapers! Or at the beach without a shirt on! Or topless on their 1st birthday doing a cake smash! These pictures are not in violation of the law. They are completely acceptable. But what's not acceptable is labelling all these parents as child pornographers when they are obviously not. Sexualizing women is one thing, but to sexualize an innocent picture of a baby in a cloth diaper...THAT is VILE, and THAT is NOT okay.
If people are seriously worried about creeps online, then people shouldn't be posting any pictures of their child at all. Besides do you know how much actual child pornography is on the Internet?! Do you know how easy it is to find? These creeps that you're making everyone so scared of know the right places to go, and IG and FB aren't one of 'em. Stop making people naive and live in fear over the extremely unlikely chance that someone will turn a picture of their baby in a cloth diaper in to child porn. You should be more concerned with SO MANY other things that are happening on your site because I guarantee you that a mother has her child's best interest at heart and I can guarantee you that I care more about my child's safety then you do!
Please look at all these hashtags and the accounts that go with them and act appropriately.
Notice how most of those sexually objectified pictures are women? Some of the girls on those pages and profiles are as young as 13!!!! Instagram needs to realize that things are not so black and white. Just because these girls aren't showing nipples, they are being sexually objectified, which is worse! And Instagram is encouraging this very thing!!! So unhealthy and dangerous. They remove photos of toddlers in bathing suits or in cloth diapers but allow and encourage young young girls to be sexualized?!?! Women and girls are not sexual objects. In fact NO ONE IS! Breastfeeding is not sexual. A child in her bathing suit is not sexual. A nipple is no more sexual then a finger or a tongue. A naked body is not always sexual. If you sexualize these things, that's called, sexual objectification. And it's a serious problem. A problem that has got to stop! Censoring these things only encourages this way of thinking. It encourages rape culture and victim blaming and misogyny!!
And when you think of advertising companies like huggies and pampers, it makes this unwritten policy about no topless children on IG or FB seem even more ridiculous!! These companies would never post child pornography all over their diapers and wipes packaging and they clearly don't because a topless child isn't porn!!
We shouldn't have to make ourselves private or stop using hashtags. That's called victim blaming. We shouldn't have to cover our toddlers torso. Thats called sexual objectification. We shouldn't have to be shamed for embracing and empowering ourselves as mothers or women. That's misogynistic. Instead these bullies need to stop bullying. They need to be punished, not the moms. Since I experienced this the first time over Mothers Day, HUNDREDS of women have contacted me regarding their deleted accounts and deleted photos. But can you believe that not one single man or father has contact me!!?! NOT ONE!!! Unfortunately I am not surprised and I know damn well that none of you are either!
I hope that IG can change their attitude towards women, because women have been fighting for equality for way too long! Maybe you don't have daughters. But if you do, don't you find it completely unacceptable that they are being sexualized and objectified, especially starting at such a young age!? If it is completely acceptable for the "cock in the sock" campaign to be plastered all over the internet, then surely, a mother breastfeeding her child in public can not possibly be THAT offensive, and surely a child in a cloth diaper is NOT to be sexualized. If someone is sexualizing something like that, then they should be the concern and those people should be dealt with immediately because that is a very dangerous and unhealthy view! Removing the picture from IG won't change their view, only encourage it!
Please watch this video by the wonderful Laci Green for a crystal clear definition of "sexual objectification"! And after you're done watching it, share it with everyone else that works at IG and then maybe IG will realize the damage they are doing by being so sexually objectifying.
One other thing you should check out is this!
It's very informative! And you should really reach out to @ashleewellsjaxn for the blatant and relentless abuse she has been dealing with because of your flawed system.
I KNOW you must have heard of that petition and this incredible project by now. I obviously support this 100% and will help Ashlee as much as I can. In hopes to bring attention and way more signatures to this movement, I will be sending emails to many of the people in the media that helped me get my account back because it's no secret that the only reason I got my account back was because I made a huge stink and a global debate was sparked! Please know that that came with huge consequences to stand up for what IS RIGHT! I now get harassed too often online. My IG is constantly under attack. And I receive threatening hate mail telling me things like "people who breastfeed in public deserve to be raped". The reason this online bullying problem is getting worse is because places like Instagram support it, which encourages it. So please please STOP!
Thank you everyone for taking the time to read this, please sign this petition to support this movement because this has to stop!!