Celeste Barber’s parody Instagram post of Candice Swanepoel photo restricted
Celeste Barber’s parody Instagram post of Candice Swanepoel photo restricted

Outrage as Celeste’s post censored

WARNING: Nudity

Instagram's algorithms have made another embarrassing mistake after attempting to stop platform users from seeing a post from an Australian comedian who it said breached "community standards" by directly parodying a supermodel's semi-nude photo.

Celeste Barber was actually wearing more clothes in her latest #CelesteChallengeAccepted post than model Candice Swanepoel was in the original image that Barber was taking aim at.


Ms Barber has become famous for her funny Instagram parody series in which she poses in a similar fashion to models and influencers to show how their often ridiculous photo shoots look when performed by a "real" woman.

She has amassed more than 7.3 million followers, but Instagram wasn't laughing about the latest post, in which Ms Barber posed in a string bikini, holding her breast in her left hand.

Ms Barber's post was intended to look similar to Ms Swanepoel's, but Instagram thought the two must be different.

According to body positivity activist Lacey-Jade Christie, writing in The Guardian, Instagram prevented users from sharing Ms Barber's post, claiming it "goes against our community guidelines on nudity or sexual activity".

Ms Barber reportedly shared a screenshot from a fan showing the platform preventing them from sharing the post.

"Hey Instagram, sort out your body-shaming standards, guys. It's 2020. Catch up," Ms Barber reportedly wrote.

On Monday night, she shared another near nude image in an attempt to goad the platform's moderators.

"Just out here checking on your double standards," she wrote as a caption.

Instagram's local head of public policy Philip Chua said the incident shouldn't have happened and the platform has "apologised directly to Celeste".

"This shouldn't be happening and we are committed to addressing any inequity on our platforms," Mr Chua said.

"We expect to update our breast covering policies very soon, to make sure all body types are treated fairly."

Ms Christie wrote that given Instagram's size and the technology it has available, "it is hard to understand how prejudices still haunt the algorithm - and yet here we are".

She said it was time "social media giants update their guidelines to make room for everyone", citing other recent instances where the "algorithm" has censored people for being the wrong size or for their skin colour.

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri said in June amid the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement that the platform was "committed to looking at the ways our policies, tools, and processes impact Black people and other under-represented groups on Instagram".

According to model Nyome Nicholas-Williams that hasn't happened.

"We can see nothing about that pledge has come to fruition … if anything it has gotten worse," she said in August after her posts were restricted on the site, prompting thousands to sign a petition and show their support on the #IWantToSeeNyome hashtag.

"This is only the beginning, Instagram has a lot to answer for," Nicholas-Williams said.

Another hashtag campaign, #DontDeleteMyBody, had 50 plus-size influencers post pictures of themselves in protest, many of which were reportedly restricted.

Last year, the platform rejected ads featuring model Lex Gillies on the basis of them being "undesirable".

Ms Gillies has a common skin condition called rosacea and the photos were promoting an art exhibition, but the mistake wasn't caught until after the exhibition ended.

Originally published as Outrage as Celeste's post censored


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