Instagram apologises to endometriosis community after it was accused of 'silencing' posts about the condition

Social media giant Instagram has apologised to the online endometriosis community after it was accused of "silencing" posts about the condition.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 7:36 am
Keisha Meek, of Kippax, co-founder of National Endometriosis Sufferers' Support. Picture: Tony Johnson

Leeds campaigner Keisha Meek, of Kippax, who is co-founder of the National Endometriosis Survivors' Support, was among those affected by issues involving the sharing of content on the picture-sharing social network over a number of days.

She said she and others trying to post using the hashtag #endometriosis or tag the national charity Endometriosis UK were having their content removed.

However Instagram told the Yorkshire Evening Post the issues have now been resolved and suggested some posts had been getting caught in its spam detection technology through the tagging of similar-sounding but incorrect websites.

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A Facebook Company spokesman said: "Charities are an important part of our community and we applaud the work Endometriosis UK is doing to raise awareness and provide support.

"We have resolved the issue brought to our attention and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

The issues have been a major blow for campaigners as they came during Endometriosis Awareness Month.

Endometriosis is a painful condition which sees cells like those in the lining of the womb found elsewhere in the body.

It can impact on those of childbearing age and can result in painful or heavy periods, chronic pain, fatigue and infertility and there is no cure and no known cause.

Keisha, who has spoken to the YEP previously about the impact the condition has had on her life, said: "It's Endometriosis Awareness Month so it's a really crucial time. Why would they try to silence us? It doesn't make sense."

She said she first realised there was a problem last Thursday when she tried to post a live video she had done with a support group in Newcastle.

“I kept trying and it was saying the content wasn’t allowed. It said I was breaching the guidelines and it was restricted. I was like 'what?'

"And then I saw a post from Endometriosis UK saying they had had lots of complaints from people.”

Keisha added: “It concerns me that this has happened. We don’t feel like [endometriosis] has been taking seriously for such a long time and then for the main platform where we are trying to raise awareness to block that, it makes you feel a bit stuck and just upset and frustrated.”

Keisha's concerns were echoed by the Endometriosis UK themsleves. Its spokewoman told the YEP: "Instagram is a key driver in raising awareness of endometriosis, and it has been incredibly frustrating to see content being blocked.

"We are pleased this issue has now been rectified and we can continue to get back to raising awareness and vital funds to help us continue to be there for anyone affected by this incurable and often debilitating condition."

Despite being as common among women as diabetes, stats show only 54 per cent of the general population have heard of endometriosis, and the average diagnosis time is eight years.

As part of Endometriosis Awareness Month, this weekend is also the ‘EndoMarch’ - a global movement to raise awareness of the condition which this year is going virtual in the UK, using video content to help spread the word on social media.

The Endometriosis UK spokeswoman added: "64 per cent of young women have also never heard of endometriosis – and awareness, particularly during Endometriosis Awareness Month, is vital in giving a voice to the 1.5million with endometriosis who all too often feel silenced."

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