The Internet is a treasure trove for photography, and it’s no surprise to anyone that a lot of those images are NSFW. Since so many of us are now dumping our photos onto social networking websites, these companies have policies that guard against illicit imagery. While most people upload non-threatening photos like selfies, food, vacations, etc., the strict guidelines social networking websites have put in place could affect seemingly innocent pictures too.
That’s the situation a mommy blogger, Courtney Adamo, found herself in. Adamo runs Babyccino Kids, and is a mother of four. Like many moms, she posts photos of her family on her Instagram account, but Instagram shut down her account, citing that Adamo’s photos were inappropriate.
Even before her account’s suspension, Instagram had been removing photos. Adamo said in her blog post that she had been receiving emails from Instagram, which says some of her photos had been flagged as inappropriate. Because Adamo couldn’t figure out what had been removed, she assumed she had received the emails by mistake.
But after posting a photo of her daughter Marlow, which shows the little girl innocently revealing her belly and underpants, the photo was pulled and Adamo received another email.
“I read the entire page twice and was positive that I had not violated any rules. Unless a baby’s belly is considered ‘nudity’… but surely it isn’t! She is a BABY!” Adamo wrote. “Again, I was sure there was a mistake, so I reposted the photo. And by yesterday evening my account was disabled.”
Adamo added that four years of family photos and memories disappeared overnight, and while hopefully she has copies of her photos, it’s the comments, well wishes, and direct messages that she misses.
She had been locked out of her account since June 20, 2014, with no response or explanation from Instagram, despite her pleas. But, as of today, it seems her account is back online, perhaps thanks to some bad press for Instagram and fans that supported her. However, Adamo writes, “I’m not sure this is the end of the controversy as I am still receiving ‘warning’ emails from Instagram to let me know that people are still reporting my images.”
From the look of Adamo’s Instagram photos, there isn’t anything about a cute family that suggests inappropriateness. But users (or Instagram itself) could be flagging her photos simply because children are involved. Perhaps the Instagram community is only trying to protect kids in photos, without knowing why the kids are in the photos to begin with. Or, Instagram needs to figure out a better way to determine what’s innocent and what’s exploitation. Regardless, Adamo’s experience demonstrates that we need to put a bit of thought into what we post to the public, because what one thinks is innocent, could be misconstrued by another.
Although she is still baffled, it seems Adamo is just happy to have her account back. “I’ve been completely blown away by all the support and advice and offers to help. I’ve received so many emails from friends and total strangers, all of which have been helpful and encouraging. This Instagram community is a wonderful place, and I am so happy to be back,” she wrote.