Why is Instagram sexualizing children in the first place?
A bunch of moms are calling out Instagram after the site keeps taking down photos of their sons shirtless at the beach, something that is in no way a violation of Instagram's rules.
"We're at the beach all the time. He, like, never wears a shirt," Tori Spooner, mother of Parker, one of Instagram's targets, said to Buzzfeed News.
The boys are all very different except for one characteristic: they all have long hair.
Machine learning & AI are used to flag & remove images of child nudity on Instagram / Facebook — but as this story… https://t.co/I20FvhHWdU— Jenna Drenten (@Jenna Drenten)1569356253.0
The moms of the boys found that their posts were removed, and in some cases, the moms were even banned from Facebook or Instagram for days on end.
Tori Spooner said:
"They sent it and said it was sexual and we weren't allowed to have it. It was pretty much just a warning."
Finally, Instagram kept taking down the photos in such large volumes that they automatically deleted Ms. Spooner's account, wiping out years worth of photos.
Many think the problem goes deeper than a simple case of mistaken identity.
@BuzzFeed Why is this about how boys can have long hair when it should be about how fucking dumb it is that women’s… https://t.co/ukj44jo6Q8— Liz Humphrey (@Liz Humphrey)1569365734.0
@BuzzFeed This is an hilarious inadvertent admission to the fact that children are children. Their future sexuality… https://t.co/WDsvDTxjTt— Dutschke - Some of the residue (@Dutschke - Some of the residue)1569356094.0
@chontal @BuzzFeed Gross, two awful things happening, 1. The fact that if they have long hair they're automatically… https://t.co/JgUN1vfwph— LVB (@LVB)1569356549.0
Spooner took matters into her own hands on Instagram and asked people to join her movement.
"Help us share this message to get @instagram attention! Who's with me?! Im tired of having Parkers shirtless pictures get deleted because IG think he's a girl for having long hair!"
"It's happened so many times that they will delete all my accounts if it happens again and I'll lose all my pictures. There is no way to contact them either."
"This happens to thousands of other little long haired boys too, not just us. There has to be a way to get @instagram attention. JOIN IN AND MAKE A SIGN and tag #longhairedboyrevolution"
Soon, #longhairedboyrevolution began to catch on across the platform.
Instagram later told Buzzfeed News that they'd made an error.
"This post was taken down in error and we are sorry for the mistake. We err on the side of protecting children and for safety reasons we remove some images that show nude or partially-nude children."
"Even when this content is shared with good intentions, it could be used by others in unanticipated ways."
Spooner said of the movement:
"I originally just started it kind of for us, but so many other people were commenting saying they'd make a sign too, and it started spreading."
But she says the movement itself is not enough – action is needed on Instagram's part.
"Find a solution so we're allowed to post our boys with long hair. Have somebody manually view them if they get flagged."
Or maybe stop sexualizing the chests of girls and women?
The chest is not a sex organ. Breasts are not genitals.
Instagram has not made any comment on whether or not it will update its policies.
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