Over the weekend, #IwanttoseeNyome began trending after Instagram removed images of Nyome Nicholas-Williams
For many years, Instagram’s censorship bias has come under fire from its users. What the platform deems to go against its guidelines has been wildly inconsistent. A scroll through your Explore page can throw up influencers wearing thongs, men baring their nipples, and bigots spitting racist rhetoric. However, as model Nyome Nicholas-Williams found recently, Instagram’s tolerance for her content is much less.
Over the weekend, the hashtag #IwanttoseeNyome began trending after Instagram removed images of Nicholas-Williams, citing that it contained “nudity or sexual activity”. In one of the idyllic shots taken by photographer Alexandra Cameron, Nicholas-Williams tilts her head back, closes her eyes, and covers her breasts with her arms. Alongside the removal of her images, Nicholas-Williams was also warned that her account could be disabled.
The model, whose Instagram handle is @curvynyome, said: “Millions of pictures of very naked, skinny white women can be found on Instagram every day. But a fat black woman celebrating her body is banned? It was shocking to me. I feel like I’m being silenced.”
Momentum gathered online for #IwanttoseeNtyome and fellow users accused the platform of being racist and fatphobic as they too shared the image on their own accounts, before having it removed.
On Friday, Instagram apologised and the image, alongside others from the shoot, were reposted.
A spokesperson for the platform said: “We do not censor specific communities. Our teams review thousands of pieces of content every day and sometimes make mistakes. As soon as we realised that @curvynyome’s content had been removed in error we restored it. We’re sorry for the error and the distress caused.”
Yesterday, Nicholas-Williams shared another image from the shoot, alongside a caption which directly called upon Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, who recently pledged to use the platform to amplify Black voices, to do better.
She wrote: “Who knew these images @alex_cameron captured of me would start such a movement, I won’t call them a problem as they are far from it. They have however opened up a much bigger conversation that must be had regardless of discomfort, and it is even more of an issue now as @mosseri pledged to amplify black voices back in June when speaking to Cosmo about the shadow banning “accusations”... As we can see nothing about that pledge has come to fruition... if anything, it has gotten worse.”
“This is only the beginning @instagram has a lot to answer for.”
It’s not the first time Instagram has received widespread backlash for censoring its users. Back in 2015, Instagram removed poet Rupi Kaur’s image of her sleeping in a pair of tracksuit pants stained with period blood. Queer community members and sex workers have also criticised the platform for removing content and shadow banning them.