Instagram shuts down account over breastfeeding photo

Toronto mom is livid photo was deemed "inappropriate"

A Toronto mother says she's "heartbroken" and "raging angry" after her Instagram account was shut down because some users were offended by a photograph she had recently posted of her breastfeeding her young daughter.

Heather Bays, a photographer who specializes in child birth and newborns, says her account was shut down on Mother's Day weekend.

She said a black-and-white photograph of her breastfeeding her 20-month-old daughter had sparked a number of complaints. One user, she said, commented that the photo was "not cool." Bays -- who says she is "not ashamed to public breastfeed" -- responded to the comment, saying "you mean so cool."

"I guess that ticked him off," she told CTV News Channel on Monday.

Shortly after, Bays said she received a number of emails from Instagram that her photo had been flagged as being inappropriate by some users.

"That caused my Instagram to be automatically deleted," she said.

According to Instagram's rules, overstepping certain "boundaries" may result in a user's account being disabled "without warning." One of those boundaries includes not sharing "photos or videos that show nudity or mature content."

Bays says when she decided to post the photo of her breastfeeding her daughter, it was because she wanted to document a special moment.

"I posted it because my daughter is 20-months-old, so she's weaning right now," she said. "These days are very sentimental."

She added that posting the photograph was also meant to help her business.

"I'm super, super heartbroken and I'm raging angry because that was three years of my motherhood that I documented for myself, along with my business."

Since having her account shut down, Bays says she has tried to contact Instagram on its own photo-sharing account or Facebook page, but has not received a response.

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  1. Thomas posted on 05/13/2014 09:30 AM
    Breast feeding in public = necessary. A baby has to eat
    Posting pics of your kid sucking you boob on the Internet for
    No reason = senseless. I think this was the right call by instragram. She agreed to the terms when she signed up. Fair is fair
    1. Sal posted on 05/13/2014 09:58 AM
      @Thomas Everyone else posts pictures showing more of their tits than that on instagram. Why can't she?
    2. john posted on 05/13/2014 10:43 AM
      @Sal i agree
  2. john posted on 05/13/2014 10:50 AM
    1 TH okey this is stupid there is noting wrong with breast feeding

    2nd shame on Instagram for shunting account stupid thay go on about freedom of speech and yet thay shut down account what a bunch of jackoffs . i am really getting tempted to set up a site that EVERYTHING gos .
  3. Angry Bill posted on 05/13/2014 10:56 AM
    This is indicative of how sick our North American society is.

    And no, I'm not referring to a woman showing the harmless act of a very beautiful and natural event.

    Well then, Angry Bill, what could you possibly be referring to? Why so Angry?

    I'm talking about a society that gets "offended". And thinks that because THEY'RE offended, that entitles them to all sorts of special treatment and privileges, including forcing other people to cater to their offensiveness.

    I have a message for these idiots in society. GET OVER YOURSELVES. You aren't that special, and no one cares that YOU are offended. You don't like to see the side of a breast of a mother breastfeeding, then DON'T FRIGGING NAVIGATE TO THAT PHOTO ON INSTAGRAM AND GAWK AT IT!

    Then you can go back to staring at Miley Cyrus on her wrecking ball and be comfortable that all is well with the world once again.
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