Call on instagram to stop wrongly censoring and removing healed self harm scars

Call on instagram to stop wrongly censoring and removing healed self harm scars

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Rose Lidgley started this petition to Instagram

Censorship on Instagram has become a major issue for many communities on the app. The mental health community being one that has been continuously censored and silenced as we fight for our rights, parity of esteem, awareness and acceptance, and continue to promote and encourage recovery. We see an influx in the rates at which our content is removed every summer, as those of us with self harm scarring begin to post photos of ourselves enjoying life and recovery in the hot weather, while advocating for body acceptance and self love.

This summer, we’ve had enough.

We already receive enough stigma outside of social media, and so we refuse to let Instagram perpetuate these notions, continuing to brand our bodies “disturbing”, to let them remove our posts on the grounds that simply because we have old healed scars, we are automatically “encouraging and promoting” self injury.

Instagram specifies that they remove posts for “identifying victims of self injury if the post attacks or makes fun of them” - is attacking us not exactly what they’re doing by forcefully removing our content, thus silencing us?

In censoring our content, they continue to perpetuate the harmful rhetoric that our bodies and our scars are somehow “disturbing”, and that we should continue to hide away and be ashamed, reinforcing the negative feelings huge amounts of us already struggle with massively in relation to our body image.

The notion that we may be “promoting or encouraging self harm” is also incredibly damaging and entirely misinformed. Posting a photo of ourselves is not a promotion of anything; this is just what we look like, and we cannot change that. Further to this, the vast majority of posts from those with visible self harm scarring is shared with the aim to promote recovery, mental well being, and body acceptance, contrary to the narrative Instagram like to portray, and in censoring and wrongly removing that content, Instagram is actively silencing those of us with mental illnesses. We should be able to post photos of our bodies, regardless of intention, without being censored and frankly insulted, like everybody else.

Those with mental illness’s already face enormous amounts of stigma surrounding their conditions, which is exhausting to navigate and fight against - Instagram must stop reinforcing these same stigmas we are trying so hard to break down. The implications of these censoring regulations are so damaging. People who are struggling with their mental health will stay silent in their suffering as they become scared to speak out. People with scars will lose their confidence, hide themselves away, and will have no representation online of people who look like them. Our negative body image struggles are only being amplified. This can lead to serious deteriorations in our mental states.

We are therefore calling on Instagram to re-evaluate their community guidelines to ensure that our content stops being wrongfully removed, censored, and branded “disturbing”, while ensuring that genuinely harmful content relating to self-harm and self-injury is removed efficiently and effectively to protect not only the mental health community, but every other user on this app. This will allow us to continue to support one another and lift each other up as best we can on our journeys to recovery.

#iamnotdisturbing

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At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!