Outrage as Instagram removes photo of boy with facial deformity that 'didn't meet its guidelines'

Mother of 12-year-old Harry Beswick was 'disgusted' after Instagram removed this image for breaching its guidelines.Instagram / OurAlteredLife

A mother has revealed her disgust at Instagram after it took down a photo of her young son who suffers from a facial deformity because it "didn't meet its guidelines".

Charlie Beswick was outraged that the Facebook-owned photo-sharing platform deemed a post showing her 12-year-old son Harry, who was born with Goldenhar syndrome meaning he has no left eye, eye socket or nostril, breached guidelines and was removed.

In the photo, Harry was not wearing his prosthetic eye. His mother Charlie, who writes a parenting blog, OurAlteredLife, wrote a caption that read: "Me: Hello Harry. Where's your eye? Mark: Oh damn!! It's still on the side at home! If it's not one of us it's the other!"

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According to Charlie another user reported the photo to Instagram where its team of content moderators made the decision to remove the post, much to the anger of doting mother.

"I'm beyond disgusted. Instagram need to rectify this discrimination!!" she wrote in a Facebook post.

She also wrote: "What do you see when you look at my boy? I see the most beautiful smile, wonderful heart and purest love. Sadly some people on Instagram feel that it's too much to look at and have reported a picture of him (again)"

"If someone hates to look at my child then I have two things to say: a) scroll past and b) you're an a******e."

Charlie also complained about the situation on Twitter. "Someone is reporting my son's face & #Instagram agree saying it doesn't meet their guidelines before removing it. RT to support me in this!" where it received over 50,000 retweets.

Following overwhelming support and comments, Instagram has restored the original photo and claimed to have apologised to the family.

"We mistakenly removed the photo, but quickly restored it as soon as the mistake was brought to our attention," said an Instagram spokesperson.

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According to The Guardian the photo was removed on the grounds of bullying, with the reviewer mistakenly interpreting Charlie's comical comment as possibly offensive. Bullying and harassment is one of the many guidelines the app will not tolerate including the depiction of "nudity, celebrating organised crime or terrorism, or glorifying self-injury".

The photo was re-uploaded to the app where the proud mother added to the original comment "Note to the person who reported the last image of my son like this. It's his FACE. If you're offended then scroll past. Shame on you!"

Instagram's moderators continually monitor the millions of photos uploaded to the platform daily and have previously been reported as removing inoffensive posts by mistake. In 2016 one user's account was suspended for posting a picture of a religious simnel cake that Instagram's overly-sensitive nudity algorithms mistook for breasts in an infamous incident known as #boobgate.

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