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

"I refuse to hide away," Henrietta said.
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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.

View this post on Instagram

• T A T T O O • . (ORIGIONAL POST HAS BEEN REMOVED BY @instagram AS APPARENTLY NOW TATTOOS CAN'T BE SHOWN AND THEY HAVE THREATENED TO DELETE MY ACCOUNT!). . It has been over 5 long year since I had my mastectomy & lost a huge part my femiminity. Taken with the breast tissue were my areola & nipples but it was all taken to save my life. I had hoped it would be the way I helped become cancer free but little did I know how precious life was about to get. I hadn't even finished all my operations for my breast reconstruction when I received the news my cancer was back & now incurable, & although this meant finishing it off was put on hold, with some people even questioning why I am putting myself & my body through more operations to finish them if my disease was now back, but I knew in my heart I needed to, to feel a bit of me back again. When the reconstruction was finished I was thrilled yet I still felt extremely unhappy with my body. I had 2 solid lumps on my chest that had no reference to boobs what so ever. All I saw was scarred lumps. In clothes it felt more normal but in the shower or the mirrow at home there was nothing to get excited about. I finally was able to have tattoos on the NHS. Don't get me wrong, they made a huge difference. It transformed my lumps into something which now resembled a sort of boob. It was enough to make me feel much happier. 2 years on they are faded and less noticable. Then vicky contacted me. She wanted to give me new 3D tattoos which we agreed to film helping others have hope. It was just incredible. Not only is Vicky the nicest person, she is extremely talented. The love, care & attention she puts into her works is plain to see & I am now the proud owner of 2 amazing boobs. They had transformed the way I look at them & the detail in the work makes them look extremely like the real thing. I am absoloutly over the moon with my new areolas. #tattoo #areolatattoo #thisisart #tattoosofnipples #3dtattoo #breastreconstruction #vickymartinvmm #vmm #edareola #sorealisitic #medicaltattoing #breastcancer #secondarysisters #secondarybc

A post shared by Laura Henrietta (@baldbooblessandbeautiful) on

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, cancel culture, and the erosion of civil liberties subscribe to Reclaim The Net.

Defend free speech and individual liberty online. 

Push back against big tech and media gatekeepers.

Push back against online censorship, 

cancel culture, and privacy invasion. 

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