Instagram censors sweet photo of gay dads holding newborn for ‘graphic’ and ‘upsetting’ content

Instagram censored a picture of two gay dads holding their newborn baby, citing it as “graphic” and “upsetting” content. 

The image was posted on 6 March by Men Having Babies, an international non-profit organisation that supports gay men looking to become fathers. The image showed Liverpool-based couple Sam and David, and their little boy Jude. 

The message screen which appeared atop of their image — which doesn’t include anything other than a loving family photo — says: “Sensitive Content. This photo may contain graphic or violent content… [or] images that some people might find upsetting.”

Onlookers argued that it was double standards for nuclear families to be able to upload such images with no repercussions, but not those from the LGBTQ+ community without facing censorship

Instagram wrongly censored the image. (@menhavingbabies/handout)

“Wtf?! Why the sensitive content warning? Holy f*ck that is not okay! Do that the straight people too if you feel the need to do that @instagram,” one viewer rightly said at the time.

“@instagram a content warning on this post is not appropriate. I bet if it was a mom, that would not have appeared. Do better,” another echoed.

The censorship on the image was finally removed on 14 March following backlash from social media users. 

Leanna Garfield, the social media safety program manager at GLAAD has responded to the incident, saying that the platform is “seriously flawed”.

Garfield said: “This case reveals serious flaws in Instagram’s content moderation system. Even after the faulty overlay was flagged multiple times to Meta, it took more than seven days for the platform to remove it. 

“Graphic content overlays are a valuable tool to mitigate extreme content — That shouldn’t include something as innocuous as a photo of two fathers with their newborn. 

“As GLAAD has highlighted in our annual Social Media Safety Index, platforms disproportionately suppress LGBTQ content, including via removal, demonetization, and shadowbanning. This year’s report is forthcoming this summer,” Garfield concluded.

A spokesperson for Meta said that the censorship was placed on the photo in error, telling Metro Weekly: “We apologize as this post was labelled mistakenly and has since been corrected.”

PinkNews has contacted a representative of Meta for further comment on the matter. 

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