INSTAGRAM have apologised for mistakenly removing a photo of a model, after critics accused the app of making the decision because she is “black and plus size”.
Photos of Nyome Nicholas-Williams have been repeatedly removed from the platform in the last few days on the grounds that they contain “nudity or sexual activity”.
The image in question, taken by photographer Alex Cameron, shows Nyome, from London, topless, but not exposing her breasts.
Social media users have pointed out a double standard between allowing “more explicit” images of “white, thin” bodies to remain on the app, while taking down the image of Nyome.
However, Instagram today stated they “do not censor specific communities”.
Following the removals, a campaign titled #IwanttoseeNyome has been launched, where Instagram users have been re-sharing the photo in an attempt to prevent it being removed.
Among those speaking out is activist Gina Martin, who recently campaigned to make upskirting punishable by law.
She claimed that Instagram removed Nyome’s post discussing the hashtag and expressed anger over the decision.
Sharing the image, she said: “These photos have been taken down continuously over the last few days after they both re-uploaded them.
“White, thin nude bodies are untouched across Instagram, (Swipe for examples).”
She then shared images of models Emily Ratajkowski, Bella Hadid and reality star Kim Kardashian,
She added: “Although Nyome is actually wearing more clothes than most of the women in these photos, society, Instagram, and those who report photos deem these photos of thin white women acceptable.
“But Black women, especially those existing in bigger bodies continue to be accused of violating community guidelines and are sexualised and censored.
“Nyome’s body is not a violation. Her body is not inherently sexual.”
Hundreds took up her call to repost the image, with many sharing evidence of how their attempts had been removed.
Among them was physician associate Jodie Smith, from Welshpool, Powys, who says she has tried five times to post the photo in the last two days.
Jodie, 24, said: “I’ve just opened the app again this morning [Fri] and seen it’s been removed.
“The longest it has been up is twelve hours, but a couple of times the post was taken down in two seconds.
“I just posted it again and it got deleted in five seconds, they told me my account might be deleted as it contains nudity or sexual activity.
“Even though Playboy photos have been reported before and Instagram says it doesn’t go against guidelines. I just don’t understand why they’re censoring her.”
Currently, a version remains on Nyome’s Instagram feed, but many social media users report that they have been unable to post.
One user named Victoria wrote: “Nyome’s photos are not against community guidelines […] this is racism. This is fat phobia. This is discrimination. This has to stop happening!”
Ashley Hammack also joined with the hashtag and said: “These pictures and posts are being censored by @instagram who only like skinny, white chicks showing power, skin and sensuality on the gram.
“Not all nudity is sexual.”
And Melbourne-based futurefeminists also supported Nyome, saying: “Instagram has got to stop policing black women’s bodies.”
Today [Fri], Instagram apologised for the practice and said they made a mistake.
A spokeswoman for Instagram said: “We’re constantly inspired by the millions of people who use Instagram to promote body positivity.
“We do not censor specific communities. Our teams review thousands of pieces of content every day and sometimes make mistakes.
“As soon as we realised that @curvynyome’s content had been removed in error we restored it. We’re sorry for the error and the distress caused.”