It finally happened. On Labor Day Weekend, Instagram deleted my account with over 148,000 followers and almost a year of posts. My goal has and will always be informed consent. I made a decision early on to source directly from .gov + manufacturer websites and kept to that my entire journey. The post that I believe led to my silencing contained educational + empowering information for pregnant women to make an informed medical decision about Covid-19 vaccines. This post was a response to the hundreds of messages I received from expecting mothers experiencing medical coercion during prenatal appointments. The personal stories were alarming. Many stated they had a gut feeling it wasn’t the right option for them, but didn’t know how to verbalize it. They were having anxiety attacks leading up to prenatal appointments or skipping them entirely. That is not what healthcare should look like. Hence, my post.
Why did Instagram silence my account when I only sourced directly from the government, manufacturers, and for my last post, a professional organization’s donor report located on its own website? That’s a great question.
Based on Instagram’s Covid-19 Vaccine Policy, they are “taking additional steps amid the pandemic to reduce the distribution of content that does not violate our policies but may present misleading or sensationalized information about vaccines in a way that would be likely to discourage vaccinations…”
Is it appropriate for Instagram to delete accurate + sourced information that provides informed consent for an individual to make a medical decision? Informed consent requires the ability to delay and decline any and all medical products. If that part of the equation is removed, then it isn’t informed consent.
Instagram continues, “As the situation evolves, we continue to look at content on the platform, assess speech trends, and engage with experts like the World Health Organization (WHO), government health authorities, and stakeholders from across the spectrum of people who use our service, and we will provide additional policy guidance when appropriate to keep the members of our community safe during this crisis.”
Is Instagram keeping its community safe by withholding information that will provide proper informed consent?
Based on Instagram’s policy, they will censor information that:
“Claims that COVID-19 vaccines are experimental, if the context of the claim also suggests that vaccinated people are taking part in a medical experiment.”
However, the FDA itself states the vaccines under Emergency Use Authorization are “investigational.”
The FDA also states on page 13 of the Comirnaty manufacturer insert that pregnant women receiving the Covid-19 vaccine are encouraged to join an “ongoing study” because “there is limited data about the use of COVID-19 vaccines for people who are pregnant” and the “study will provide critical information for future moms-to-be and the medical community.”
Why is informing pregnant women that the product some are being coerced into accepting is considered “investigational” by the FDA and that they will be enrolled in an ongoing study if accepting the vaccine to provide “critical information” for future mothers and the medical community?
In addition to the Covid-19 vaccine discussion restrictions, Instagram’s updated vaccine policy also includes guidelines against the vaccination program in general.
For example, users cannot quote directly from DTAP’s manufacturer insert that vaccines cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) even though the manufacturer lists SIDS under its adverse reaction section (page 12).
Also, Instagram users are not allowed to cite manufacturer inserts that state the very disease the vaccine is meant to prevent can actually be caused by it.
For example, the Hep A vaccine manufacturer states on page 7 of the insert that hepatitis is a known adverse reaction of this product. Another example is the varicella (chicken pox) vaccine. The manufacturer states on page 5 in the insert that the vaccine can cause varicella and herpes zoster (shingles) even distinguishing it as the “vaccine strain.”
Why is Instagram silencing this information? It’s accurate + verified by our own government and the manufacturers themselves. Why can’t there be an open discussion about these products?
So what next?
After careful consideration and reading through Instagram’s vaccine policy, I’ve decided not to create a backup Instagram for the time being. Instagram is opposed to everything I stand for and will ensure my silencing is definite. My time and energy is best used elsewhere for now. Amazingly, Instagram’s actions have spurred an outpouring of support from the community and almost tripled my email subscriber list! I’m genuinely thankful for each message of encouragement and support. I know the informed consent community is strong and am motivated more than ever to provide informed consent for all.