Comedian Celeste Barber called out Instagram’s ‘body-shaming standards’ after the platform appeared to censor her photo, but not a similar one from a supermodel

  • On Friday, Australian comedian Celeste Barber posted a semi-nude photo on Instagram, in which she re-created a picture from Victoria's Secret model Candace Swanepoel.
  • When Instagram users tried to reshare Barber's post, the platform notified them that it violated the "community guidelines on nudity or sexual activity," while Swanepoel's post remained shareable.
  • Barber called out the app's apparent censorship on her Instagram story, writing: "Hey Instagram, sort out your body-shaming standards, guys. It's 2020. Catch up."
  • A representative for Instagram told Insider in a statement that its team has apologized to Barber, telling her the restriction on her post was an "error" and has since been fixed.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Instagram has apologized to Australian comedian Celeste Barber after restricting a semi-nude photo she shared, which she wrote was an example of the platform's "body-shaming standards."

On Friday, Barber posted a photo as part of her #CelesteChallengeAccepted series, where she parodies models and celebrities' pictures and videos. The comedian shared a side-by-side photo of herself imitating Victoria's Secret model Candace Swanepoel.

Barber captioned the photo: "When you finally sit down and your kid asks for a drink."

https://www.instagram.com/p/CGXGDWOHl02

Swanepoel and Barber are both pictured semi-nude wearing unbuttoned oversized shirts. Barber is wearing a brown thong, while Swanepoel appears to not be wearing underwear.  

Shortly after posting the photo, some of Barber's fans noted in the comments section of her post that when they tried to reshare it, Instagram restricted them from doing so and displayed a message that the post "goes against our community guidelines on nudity or sexual activity," according to The Guardian.

Several users commented on Barber's Instagram post to share that while the comedian's post was restricted, Swanepoel's Instagram post remained shareable. 

"Hey @instagram- Why is @angelcandice's original photo is allowed but we can't share this one with @celestebarber?? #bodyshaming much?!" one fan wrote on Barber's post.

Barber took to her Instagram story to call out the app, saying: "Hey Instagram, sort out your body-shaming standards, guys. It's 2020. Catch up."

Instagram's algorithm uses a mix of reporting by users and artificial intelligence (AI) to flag certain content as inappropriate, according to a webpage from Facebook, which owns Instagram. Instagram's Help page states that the platform doesn't allow nudity, which it refers to as exposed genitals, buttocks, or female nipples.

A representative for Instagram told Insider that the platform is updating its photo policies 'to make sure all body types are treated fairly' 

After a number of fans left comments calling out Instagram for flagging Barber's photo, the comedian wrote on her Instagram story that the platform had apologized to her.

"Instagram emailed me an apology, bless, saying it was an error and that they are working to fix it. They also said that even the people that tried to share my post will be able to," Barber wrote.

A representative for Instagram confirmed in a statement to Insider that its team apologized directly to Barber.

"This shouldn't be happening and we are committed to addressing any inequality on our platforms. We expect to update our breast covering policies very soon, to make sure all body types are treated fairly," the statement read.

Barber continued her #CelesteChallengeAccepted series on Monday, posting a side-by-side photo inspired by supermodel Bella Hadid.

"Oh hi, just out here checking on your double standards," Barber captioned the post.

Instagram has previously been called out for its community guidelines that seem to target plus-size bodies 

In 2018, plus-size influencer Katana Fatale posted a nude photo of herself on Instagram in the shower, with her nipples, buttocks, and genitals covered, as per Instagram's community guidelines. 

However, Fatale's post was removed by the platform, which called it a violation of the community guidelines, according to BuzzFeed News.

Fatale told BuzzFeed News that she wondered why her image was taken down when similar photos of smaller-bodied women were not reported by the platform.

In June, the Black plus-size model Nyome Nicholas-Williams posted a semi-nude photo of herself on Instagram where she is pictured holding her breasts. Nicholas-Williams' photo was flagged by the platform as inappropriate and originally taken down for violating the community guidelines.

Nicholas-Williams' image sparked a Change.org petition, "Stop Instagram from censoring fat Black women," which has gained more than 21,000 signatures at the time of writing.

Nicholas-Williams later stated on her Instagram story that the platform had apologized to her for taking down the photo and said it would review their nudity guidelines. Although her photo has since been republished on Instagram, Nicholas-Williams is still calling attention to the social-media app's apparent censorship.

On Friday, she posted a nude photo and called attention to the continued need for appreciation of all bodies.

"Slim white bodies are praised for being nude and appreciating their form on this platform all the time and never have images taken down or asked as to why they are posting them," Nicholas-Williams wrote in the caption.

Celeste Barber, Nyome Nicholas-Williams, and Katana Fatale, respectively, did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.

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