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Woman breastfeeding nude

Meta: Stop Shadow Banning Women's & Reproductive Health Information

Instagram is shadow banning vaginas, vulvas and boobs. This isn’t inappropriate content. It’s just our anatomy.

As a sisterhood centred on honest conversations around menstrual wellbeing, and a group of people that certainly aren’t afraid to shy away from taboo topics, whether that’s period masturbation or freebleeding, we find this extremely disconcerting. It’s hard enough finding a space to talk about the parts of ourselves we don’t always want to chat to reveal. Censorship of these issues shuts down precious & more anonymous spaces to learn about our anatomy and health, but also unlearn stigmas we hold against our own bodies.

What is Instagram shadowbanning & why are breasts, vulvas and vaginas being targeted?

Instagram shadow banning is the censorship of accounts. Shadow banned accounts will see reduced organic reach and are often barred, it can be account wide or it can be specific to individual posts.

Meta shadow ban breastfeeding image for nudity

It is a regular occurrence to not be able to run ads on everything from vaginal dryness to endometriosis & for old posts that talk honestly about sisters bodies to mysteriously be removed. Only last week an old post of ours on breastfeeding was removed as inappropriate nude content. Research from the Centre for Intimacy Justice in the US found that 100% of Women’s Health companies surveyed had experienced Facebook/Instagram ad rejection and 50% had experienced suspension of their entire account,

This Instagram algorithm is a Deep Learning algorithm that learns how we interact with content and shows us content. That’s all great in theory, but in practice it absorbs and encodes society’s own biases. As we saw with the Amazon recruitment algorithm that actively recommended against women just on the basis of sex, Meta’s algorithm censors and reduces the reach of content surrounding our basic health and anatomy.

It’s not easy, but the algorithm can be changed- even if society might take a bit longer. Inbuilt protections are required for groups and topics like reproductive and menstrual health to be able to share sometimes essential medical advice free of censorship. 

What can I do to help?

You can take a stand against the censorship of women and non-binary people’s bodies in a number of ways:

  1. Follow &SISTERS at @and.sisters on Instagram & sign up to our mailing list. We will keep you tuned on all things shadow banning.
  2. Share this information with your friends and family. Whether it’s a private message or sharing on Insta stories, your voice matters & has influence with those around you.
  3. Most importantly- don’t let shadow banning change what you post. We all need to hear the word vagina a few times more in our lives & we need to see honest depictions of our bodies doing their thing from puberty to menopause.
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