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Teen accuses instagram of size discrimination over account ban

Samm Newman, a 19 year old student from Ohio, has accused photo sharing service Instagram of discriminating against her size, after it deleted her account following complaints about her underwear and swimsuit shots. Pointing out that there are thousands of other instagram accounts with similar content featuring thinner women, Newman suggested that Instagram wouldn't have taken the steps it did, if she was a few sizes smaller.

“Fat is not a bad word,” said Newman in an interview with NBC, where she discussed how she used her Instagram account as a way to promote body confidence among her group of friends and followers. Whether people found her attractive or not, the point was for her to feel confident enough in herself to put the pictures up there.

“My Instagram, it was my safe place because when I was there, I could share anything,” Newman said.

Newman (left) wonders why her account was deleted, when those of others (right) are left up?

Since the account ban, Instagram was contacted by several journalists for comments. Its response was as follows:

“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.”

It has since reinstated Newman's account.

Many have pointed out in the wake of this story that Instagram has strict rules over showing mature content or nudity, but Newman and others would argue that bikini shots are common place on the site and they show just as much skin, if not more, than underwear pictures. Likewise, there are many other people doing the same thing as her, including celebrities, none of whom have had their accounts banned.

KitGuru Says: If no terms and conditions were broken by posting these pictures, it seems a little ridiculous that her account was taken down. Nobody forces anyone to look at any pictures – unless you set your friend's homepage to a site about spinning meat – so why anyone would have a problem with what someone posts on Instagram is beyond me.


A pretty common argument I've heard against it however, is that we shouldn't promote unhealthy body types. I can understand that mentality, but I'd much rather people looked to encourage others that were comfortable in their own skin. You can be a health nut and still be underconfident. Loving the skin you're in, as corny as it sounds, is much more worthwhile than fitting some fitness ideal. 

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  1. Yet when people get banned on video games for no reason what so ever, no one bats and eye lid …

  2. It’s pretty clear that Instagram deletes accounts based more on the amount of times users have reported it rather than the content.
    Whilst instagram should probably work on their method to avoid bad press like this, they also probably have to deal with an insane amount of reported profiles and to keep that under control I’m sure they have an automated system in place that deletes highly reported accounts.

  3. She’s not that confident if that is her train of thoughts.
    her train of thoughts: I’m banned, I’m not skinny and I’m in a bathing suit. Other skinny girls in bathing suits aren’t getting banned. Thus: I must have been banned because Instagram thinks I’m oversized

    Where is the connection to instagram banning her for being oversized?

    If you think clearly: Hey I was banned, because of that photo. But there is nothing wrong with it. Let’s ask Instagram for an explanation. oooow It was a mistake of the automatic ban system. ok that is cool.

  4. because you can 100% compare those two cases…

  5. May Emilio Mezec

    There is also the fact she looks younger than 19. Personally I think women who post these are trolls. Its pointless and attention seeking.

  6. Well yes you can, just because pulled the “is it because I’m fat” card, at the end of the day, the devs should have checked properly first, just like in games,
    The point I’m making is she got banned falsely, In games you get banned falsely, except just because she accused them of her being fat, they let her have the account back, yes good on her for the confidence of being able to post them. But guaranteed if it was the girl on the right who got banned, she wouldn’t have got the account banned …

  7. Well, she says it is for her and a group.
    boosting confidence and such.
    In that way, all the more power to her.
    I do not care and if they are happy, why shouldn’t they.

    but the fact that she attacks instagram for no other reason then her own insecurity (see my post about her train of thoughts)
    That pisses me off.

  8. Luca Groenendijk

    And how about people with athletic body types, are their photos not pointless and attention seeking?

  9. I agree with Zavier. Treyarch is so good at this though xD I got banned for no reason. After trying to talk to them for days I found out it was a mistake… but they apperently don’t do ‘unbans’. And told me to rebuy the game.

  10. May Emilio Mezec

    Yes Luca the same goes for them too. They want people to say wow your so athletic. She wants people to say wow your so brave and body confident. At the end of the day they want positive attention for standing and taking a photo in their underwear… That to me is pretty pathetic.

  11. Personally, I think we’d all benefit if everyone just put their clothes on…big or skinny.

  12. Let’s be honest. If the person has a good body, at worst it’s something to oggle at, at best, it is something to aspire towards. “Fat” is a bad word because it’s someone who eats too much. The ban is ridiculous, but the girl needs to seek psychological help.

  13. you cant compare her picture to a slim chicks
    the difference is that no one wants to see her in a bikini
    not because shes fat but because she doesnt even try to look good
    shes got no make up, bad hair and is wearing a shitty bathing suit
    theres plenty of bbw on instagram that dont get their pictures reported and removed

  14. a fat person might not be someone who eats to much Mazty. there are many reasons for weight gain, only one of which is “eating too much”.

  15. That’s a fucking joke I’d send the game back, never buy it off them again, and send them weekly emails/letters till they done something about it, what a bunch of ass holes.

  16. Cozma Ioan Marian

    If you don’t want to see her in a bikini then DON’T FRIGGIN LOOK AT HER! Jeez people, it’s not like she’s forcing the population of this planet to watch her photos! Fat or slim, she should have the same right to post same type of photos like everyone else!

  17. Not related to the banning issue, but where is her belly button….
    It’s freaking me out

  18. Wrong. In almost 100% of cases the reasons person has excessive body weight is due to eating too much. Its a sad day when people deny this basic truth and shows how warped society has become.

  19. Jesus?

  20. Look up Liptins and why some women – possibly also men – struggle to
    lose or even fail to not gain weight by eating normal/low amounts of
    food. In some cases – perhaps this one here – they would have to be
    eating so little that they would be starving themselves and even then
    the body will just slow their metabolism to compensate. True, maybe this
    girl eats more crisps or chocolate than she should like most teenagers,
    we just don’t know, but your nearly 100% comment is just grossly
    inaccurate. I have two cousins, one eats like she’s never going to get a
    meal again and her metabolic rate and liptin receptivity keep her super
    model thin, my other cousin has given up on trying to lose weight as
    evidently her body doesn’t want her to be thin but… at least she has
    come to terms with that and is still one of the friendliest and outgoing
    women I know. So other than some concerns over her health I’m happy she
    is happy.

  21. Do you have ANY proof that leptin (not liptin) plays a significant part in weight gain, or just going on pseudoscience? Instead of saying utter bull like “your nearly 100% comment is just grossly inaccurate”, what you mean to say is my comment is actually right and you are just looking for excuses for the overweight. Or are you going to provide proof that states otherwise?

    Oh you have two cousins! Fantastic, here comes the anecdotal evidence. Go read a paper or several on what causes obesity and then come back when your understanding is greater than someone looking to pander to their insecurities.

    Here’s a quick science lesson for you. I’m guessing the thin cousin eats food that has a higher sugar rate and is more physically active, whereas the other one eats a more carb based diet (possibly high GI) and is less physically active. You can’t beat basic calorie biology that if you exercise, your body can’t create energy out of thin air.

    When you barely understand a topic, don’t try arguing about it – it’s the height of ignorance.

  22. TheTruthOfTheMatter!

    I wished instagram would have kept her banned! Who would post themselves to the world looking like that???