Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri has tweeted an apology about a bug that deleted users’ story posts on Thursday. The timing was unfortunate for activists trying to raise awareness about missing Indigenous women, with organizations Red Dress and National Day of Awareness of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG, abbreviated by some as MMIWG2S to include two-spirit people) questioning whether their posts had somehow been erased deliberately. According to Instagram, however, the bug affected stories, archives, and highlights of Instagram users across the globe.
Mosseri and Instagram’s statement about the deletions say this isn’t the case and that the stories were not removed because of anything content-related. He specifically addressed the Indigenous people’s concerns. “This day is incredibly important to raise awareness of this critical issue and support our Indigenous community on Instagram,” Mosseri tweeted. “We apologize to all those who felt like they could not bring attention to these incredibly important causes, and many others around the world.”
Many people thought we were removing their content because of what they posted or what hashtag they used, but this bug wasn’t related to the content itself, but rather a widespread issue that has now been fixed.
— Adam Mosseri (@mosseri) May 7, 2021
The issue of the high rates of violence against Indigenous people — especially women, girls, and two-spirit people — isn’t one that often gets a spotlight outside of reservations, so spreading awareness is especially important, activists say. Speaking to CBC News about the importance of days like May 5th, community organizer Kakeka Thundersky said that “[e]veryone’s just stuck at home on their phone, unable to gather and able to go to the rallies, unable to talk to face to face with people,” making online platforms like Instagram a key tool for activists.
Emily Henderson, an Inuk arts and culture writer, said that “[t]he digital space in general is really, really important right now just for maintaining community connections or connections.”