People who like to share their pole dancing fitness routine got an unpleasant surprise in July when their content was suddenly hidden on Instagram. After a number of people in the community, including some in Canada, brought attention to the issue, Instagram apologized to the pole dancers for blocking their content.
Posts that included hashtags like #poledancing, #poletrick, and #polefitness appeared to be entirely blocked from Instagram's explore page. Recent posts were also blocked from searches because, according to the text on Instagram, "the community has reported some content that may not meet Instagram's community guidelines."
The issue gained attention from the community when pole dancing blog, Blogger On Pole, wrote a lengthy post about Instagram censoring pole dancing content. At the time, the writer who runs Blogger On Pole and goes by Carolina, asked Instagram why they were blocking images of pole dancers. The social media company denied it was doing this intentionally.
Eventually, a change.org petition was started by Rachel Osborne to get Instagram to stop censoring pole dancers and their content. As of writing, the petition has almost 18,000 signatures.
Instagram's censorship affected Canadian women who practise pole dancing as well. Speaking with CTV News, Canadian pole dancing instructor Kelly Swain said the entire situation was unfair. "To have that all taken away from me because we wear shorts and a sports bra? (and) we dance on a vertical pole?" she asked.
Nicole Oke, an amateur pole dancer from London, Ontario, also expressed disappointment in Instagram's actions. "Pole dancing isn’t hurting anyone,” she told CTV. "I want people to see pole [dancing] as something that is making women (or men) feel appreciative of their body."
Eventually, a representative from Instagram parent company Facebook offered an apology to Carolina at Blogger On Pole, writing, "A number of hashtags, including #poledancenation and #polemaniabr, were blocked in error and have now been restored. We apologise for the mistake."
Carolina remains skeptical that things will actually change, but for now, it appears that pole dancing photos are no longer blocked on Instagram.
Narcity has reached out to Nicole Oke and Kelly Swain for comments and we will update this story when we receive a response.