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Chillicothe Teen Alleges Size Discrimination After Instagram Account Removed

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CHILLICOTHE, Ohio - UPDATE: Monday night, Samm Newman notified NBC4 that Instagram had reinstated her account as a result of NBC4's report.

Instagram provided the following statement to NBC4 Monday night:

When our team processes reports from other members of the Instagram community, we occasionally make a mistake. In this case, we wrongly removed content and worked to rectify the error as soon as we were notified. We apologize for any inconvenience.



A 19-year-old Central Ohio college student is trying to change the way social media looks at body image after her Instagram account was recently removed for "violating community guidelines" -- because of a photo of her in a bra and boy shorts.

Samm Newman, 19, is a student at Ohio University-Chillicothe, and her Instagram account was removed after she posted a photo of her in a bra and boy shorts.

"Fat is not a bad word," said Newman. "How confident can you be if you keep censoring yourself because people don't want to look at you?”

Newman said she used to self-harm and was bullied through junior high and high school. Her self-confidence was at an all-time low. But as she got into college, she became a different person. Much of that had to do with support she found online.

Newman took part in a body positivity movement on Instagram. Four months ago, she met a group of ladies using hash tags like #bodylove and #pizzasister4lyfe. They followed each other, posted pictures and compliments.

"My Instagram, it was my safe place because when I was there, I could share anything," Newman said.

The question is: did she share too much? Over the weekend, Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, removed Newman’s account. They said she violated their community guidelines. While they warn against sharing photos that show nudity or mature content, Newman said there is a double standard.

The photo that was removed just hours before her account was rendered useless was one of her in her favorite polka dot boy shorts and a white bra.

“I didn't find them or the bra at all inappropriate," Newman said. "They covered me entirely and I've seen pictures like that all over Instagram.”

The size 24 teenager said it's size discrimination. There are plenty of photos of thin women wearing much less -- even nothing. Newman reported some of those photos as inappropriate, but they're still active. So she's concentrating on the end result of all this. She hopes her story will provide motivation for others.

"I’m going to make a difference in the world, regardless of whether Instagram cooperates or not," she said.

She had more than 500 followers to her Instagram account when it was deleted. 

NBC4 requested information from Instagram about Newman’s account, and the reason it was removed. They have only said that they are looking into it, but have not provided a reason as to exactly what prompted the removal.  

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