The pictures showed two transgender women smiling in the sunlight; a black, plus-sized Instagram star grinning from a magazine cover; a disabled model posing with a phone; an intersex activist laying in a wreath of paper hearts.
All were advertisements for Salty, a digital sex and dating publication that centers women, transgender, and nonbinary people—particularly people of color, plus-size models, and other bodies usually beyond the margins of mainstream feminist magazines. But according to Instagram, the images were actually advertisements for escort services and had no place on the platform.
Over the last six weeks, Instagram has rejected Salty’s ads over and over again. Instagram finally overturned its decisions on Wednesday night, but only after Salty spoke out on Twitter and drew attention to the situation. Salty’s founder believes the incident speaks to a broader technological bias against women, the LGBTQ community, and people of color.