Instagram forced to apologise after removing mother's photo of son with facial deformity

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Instagram was forced to apologise after an image of a young child with a facial deformity was removed from its site.

Harry Beswick, 12, was born with Goldenhar syndrome, which means he has no left eye, eye socket, nostril or left ear.

His mother, Charlie Beswick, who runs a blog and Instagram account for parenting a special needs child, said the social media site decided the picture breached guidelines and was removed.

She said it was the second time a photo has been taken down and that both were of Harry showing his eye socket, without wearing his prosthetic eye.

A user of the app reported it to the Instagram’s content moderation team before it was removed, according to Ms Beswick.

Ms Beswick took to Twitter to vent her fury, posting the image alongside the caption: “Someone is reporting my son’s face and #Instagram agree saying it doesn’t meet their guidelines before removing it.”

It has received more than 53,000 retweets and 27,000 likes on the social media site.

In a Facebook post, she 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).”

“I’m beyond disgusted. Instagram need to rectify this discrimination!”

An Instagram spokeswoman told the Guardian: “We mistakenly removed the photo, but quickly restored it as soon as the mistake was brought to our attention… We have apologized to the family.”

After photo was restored, Ms Beswick, who lives in Stoke-on-Trent, edited the description to read: “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!”

The Standard has approached Instagram for comment.

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