It’s not uncommon for social media sites like Facebook and Instagram to remove inappropriate or offensive photos from their site, but a picture of little boy’s face? Not so much.
Back in September, Charlie Beswick, author of the blog, «Our Altered Life», was shocked and disgusted when she found out that Instagram had taken down a photo of her 12-year-old son, Harry. While by now, she’s used to name-calling and trolls who seem to have nothing better to do than make fun of Harry online, she never expected Instagram to discriminate against him, too.
According to the site’s community guidelines, «it’s never OK to encourage violence or attack anyone based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, disabilities, or diseases.»
The little boy from Staffordshire, England, had done none of this. He simply wasn’t wearing his prosthetic eye in the picture.
You see, he has Goldenhar syndrome, a rare congenital defect characterized by deformities in the face. In Harry’s case, he has no eye, eye socket, ear or nostril on one side of his face.
He’s also autistic and non-verbal, both of which have no relation to the syndrome. His twin brother, Oliver, doesn’t share any of these conditions.
When Beswick posted the photo in question, another user reported it. Then after reviewing the complaint, Instagram’s content moderation team removed it.
Instagram later apologized and stated they’d make a mistake in an email to Beswick, but that only came after she took to Twitter and expressed her outrage.
While she’s happy they apologized at all, she says she would have preferred a public apology. After all, the site did determine that her son’s face was inappropriate, mistake or not. In doing so, they violated their own community guidelines. Ironic, isn’t it?
How do you feel about the way Instagram handled this situation? Should they also issue a public apology? To learn more about Harry’s story, be sure to check out Beswick’s blog or buy her book, «Our Altered Life».