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Instagram threatens cancer survivor with ban, suggests her reconstructive surgery photos are “sexual activity”

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What appears to be Instagram’s (human) moderators have hit a UK cancer patient with censorship and a threat of banning her account – for sharing content they understood as showing “sexual activity.”

Instagram is teeming with influencers quite obviously using sex to sell not only their own “brand” and “influence” but also sponsored products; but as long as that intent is not shown in explicit instances of human anatomy – Instagram’s “moderators” don’t seem to mind at all.

But 31-year-old Laura Henrietta is not an influencer. She’s a hairdresser fighting stage three breast cancer, who – having undergone a mastectomy – hoped to use the social platform to encourage others facing similar dire health circumstances to fight on, and show them that reconstructive procedures can go a long way.

Specifically, Henrietta posted a video and images showing reconstructive 3D nipple tattoos – meant to enhance the appearance of the body part she lost in surgery during her 6-year cancer battle, the Mail reports.

Both women and men, of course, have nipples – but Instagram chooses to impose a blanket ban on showing women’s nipples, apparently assigning a purely sexual purpose to those.

Henrietta – no doubt hoping to use Instagram as a tool to spread hope and awareness to others on the web – responded to Instagram’s threat of a ban by saying she would continue sharing her experiences.

She said, “I want to help other women and show the world what happens when you are in my situation.”

“I refuse to hide away,” Henrietta concluded.

Cosmetic tattooist Vicky Martin is quoted as saying that she in the past protested about the policy of Instagram and its owner Facebook.

“I want to raise awareness that these tattoos are about helping women to feel complete again. It’s not pornographic at all, it’s art,” said Martin.

And while this could be a particularly jarring and tone-deaf application of “rules” by actual humans over on Instagram – the article doesn’t clarify what it means when it mentions “moderators.”

It’s not far fetched, therefore, to assume this may be yet another example of super-rich giant media platforms deciding to use machine learning (aka, AI) algorithms for time and money-saving purposes – while these continue to be very poor moderation tools as they often lack any useful context-awareness.

The result that we see over and over again: people and content wrongfully accused of representing what they do not, suspended, removed, deplatformed.

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, subscribe to Reclaim The Net.

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