‘People hate fat people. People hate skinny people’: Instagram called out for removing woman’s weight loss photo

Woman calls Instagram out for "body shaming" after removing her weight loss photo from social media. (Photo courtesy of Krista)

A woman in Iowa is calling Instagram out for “body shaming” after the app removed one of her weight loss photos over concern that it might “encourage self-harm or suicidal behavior.”

Krista, who declined to provide her last name and goes by the Instagram handle @kovitlac, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she started her “journey of self-discovery” in the summer of 2017 — a big part of which was losing weight. However, she never anticipated that her physical appearance would be deemed inappropriate or even dangerous.

“I started sharing my progress on social media after I lost maybe 45 lbs. or so,” Krista writes via email. “It wasn't until I lost another 15-20 lbs. that I began posting more photos of myself to Instagram, mostly selfies. The response on both Instagram and Facebook has been VERY encouraging.”

And although she had admittedly lost a lot of weight, nobody had ever expressed concerns about how Krista looked or her weight loss methods.

“Instead of making one huge change like switching to a vegetarian or keto diet, I opted to make a lot of smaller changes,” she says of her approach, explaining that the process was more focused on internal improvements rather than external. “I felt really bad about myself, my self-esteem was in the trash, my confidence level was and had been plummeting for years. I decided that I needed to do what I could to be more positive. I wanted very badly to love myself. And things have definitely improved in that regard.”

But when one of her July 22 Instagram posts, where she was proudly showing off her transformation was removed the next day, Krista was caught off guard.

“I remember being more angry than I was hurt,” she says of being notified that her post allegedly goes against the platform’s community guidelines. “Apparently they felt it promoted self-harm, and they were 'kind' enough to send me information on where I can find support, how to seek out a hotline if I wanted to hurt myself.”

However, she argues that the photo was actually a depiction of her healthiest self.

“Not one person told me I was too skinny, dangerously thin, looked like a skeleton,” she says. “I had reached a healthy BMI (body mass index) by that point.”

Krista posted a screenshot of the notification that she had received after feeling defeated by its message and her inability to contest it. In the post’s caption she expressed that she felt that she was body shamed.

“So @instagram felt the need to delete my most recent weight loss progress photo (which WILL be reuploaded, because I did absolutely nothing wrong), claiming it was reported by someone worried about me having an EATING DISORDER,” the social media user wrote. “PLEASE explain, because this sounds hypocritical af to me. Even bordering on, dare I say it, BODY SHAMING??”

Krista’s followers quickly began to show support for her in the comments by congratulating her on both her weight loss and her decision to speak out against Instagram and whoever initially reported her photo. One follower even made mention of the inevitability of critics on social media.

“People hate fat people. People hate skinny people. They hate skinny people getting fat. They hate fat people getting skinny. Seems like everyone out there is just looking for reasons to hate other people,” the commenter wrote. “If you have a goal that makes you happy and doesn't hurt anyone, and want to work hard to achieve it, then you should be free to show the world your success.”

And Krista has been sure to do just that. She explains that since her July 22 post was removed, she’s only continued to post her weight loss photos, and even re-posted the photo that was previously deleted.

“I've actually increased the amount of progress pictures and comparison shots I've been posting,” she says. “I particularly love the comments I get on those pictures outright daring Instagram to take them down. My new followers have been incredibly supportive, and have done a lot to make this process more entertaining than frustrating.”

One of her biggest sources of frustration, however, is that she isn’t the only person who has encountered this type of complaint from Instagram. Krista says that she has heard from multiple women who have gotten the same notification in response to someone reporting their weight loss content.

Now, Krista is suggesting that the platform find a better way to police the reports that they receive.

“I don't want Instagram to update their guidelines so much as I want them to police their written policy better. I don't have anything really against removing posts where people are actively harming themselves, or doing something blatantly illegal,” she explains. “People will be trolls - people will get their friends to spam reports on innocent pictures. Meanwhile, I've heard from people who have reported Nazi-related content, only to be told by Instagram personally that that kind of content is perfectly allowed. And yet, my healthy 75 lb. weight loss is 'promoting self-harm or suicidal tendencies.' It's insane!”

Krista says that she has yet to receive a response from Instagram after submitting an inquiry about the deleted post. An Instagram spokeswoman tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “This image was removed in error and has now been restored.”

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