Ohio teen claims size discrimination by Instagram, company admits error

Samm Newman
Samm Newman

CHILLICOTHE, OHIO (WCMH/CNN) – Social media connects us all, but it also leaves us open to criticism or even discrimination.

An Ohio teen says Instagram removed her account after she posted a picture of herself in a bra and boy shorts, and that they were wrong to do so.

Here’s her story and how she’s hoping to show the ways social media can affect body image.

Samm Newman knows what she is.

“I’m a big girl, I’m proud, and I post lots of body love,” Newman said.

But what she doesn’t know is why that got her kicked off Instagram.

Samm Newman
Samm Newman

“How confident can you be if you keep censoring yourself because people don’t want to look at you?” Newman asked.

The 19-year-old student didn’t have the greatest self-esteem. She was bullied through junior high and high school, and she harmed herself to cope.

“There were times when I ate lunch in the bathroom,” Newman said.

Then she found a new source of support online by taking part in a body positivity movement on Instagram.

A group of ladies using hashtags like #bodylove and #pizzasisters4lyfe started posting pictures of themselves… and compliments.

“It was my safe place, because when I went there, I could share anything,” Newman said.

But did she share too much? Over the weekend, Newman’s account was removed.

Instagram said she violated their community guidelines.

Under their “what not to do” headline, they warn against sharing photos that show nudity or mature content.

Newman says it’s a double standard.

This is the photo that was removed just hours before her account was rendered useless. Newman wearing her favorite polka dot boy shorts and a bra.

“I didn’t find them or the bra at all inappropriate. They covered me entirely, and I’ve seen pictures like that all over Instagram,” Newman said.

The size 24 teen says it’s size discrimination because there are plenty of photos of thin women wearing much less, even nothing.

Newman reported some and they’re still active.

Meantime, she’s concentrating on the end result of all this, her story being motivation for others.

“I mean, I’m going to make a difference in the world, regardless of whether Instagram cooperates or not,” Newman said.

Instagram released a statement Monday:

When our team processes reports from other members of the Instagram community, we occasionally make a mistake. In this case, we wrongly removed content and worked to rectify the error as soon as we were notified. We apologize for any inconvenience.

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