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  • Alyse Gray

The Posts Instagram Doesn't Want You to See

The @autopsy.pathology account on Instagram posts educational death related content. The intent of the page is to cause people to think, because pondering mortality can help us lead better lives. But it's not for everyone. Although some of the posts are graphic, they don't violate Instagram's community guidelines. Still, the account is constantly reported and shadowbanned.

Why is Instagram giving this personal account a hard time?

Here are some of the posts that have been taken down with the reasons Instagram provided.

If graphic photos of decedents disturb you, please do not read on.

Most recently, a post outlined what happens to bodies that decompose in water, then called for volunteers to help with the autopsy backlog in Puerto Rico. It was reported for "nudity."

Do you see any naughty bits on this corpse?


Wait, if you look closely, there may be a hint of gluteal cleft.

Another post was taken down for "promoting racism." The post detailed what happens to the bodies of undocumented immigrants. This is an international issue. The post did not focus on any specific people group or political stance, and used neutral language. The photo shared was from an article in the Journal of Forensic Research on injury patterns seen in deceased immigrants in Greece.

This man drowned while attempting to cross a river into Greece.

The caption provided information on how the US attempts to identify deceased migrants and return their bodies to family members, based on information from a PBS article What Happens When Migrants Die in the Arizona Desert.

Is PBS racist too?

One of the most watched videos on the account was of a Tibetan Sky Burial derived from a YouTube video. This sacred funeral ritual is practiced in the mountainous region of Tibet, where the ground is perpetually too hard for earth burials. Out of practicality, bodies are defleshed and fed to vultures. In the Buddhist tradition, this is considered an act of generosity on the part of the deceased, who provides food to sustain other living beings.

This video was reported and taken down for "promoting violence."

These dead people only wanted to feed the vultures in a final act of generosity.

Here is the video(warning IT IS VERY GRAPHIC):

Also reported for violence was a post about how your pet might eat your face after you die. It's not that they don't love you, but who feeds the catto or pupper? You, of course!

There is a more serious lesson behind this. Forensic investigators need to be aware of pet activity so it's NOT mistaken for violence.

Numerous times the account has been reported for self harm, despite the deliberate messages of hope and encouragement to those who struggle with suicidal thoughts and self harm. The account takes a preventive stance, urging people to connect with each other, find healthy coping mechanisms, and talk about these issues. In one post, the suicide hotline number is provided. @autopsy.pathology is a place people feel safe enough to open up to each other about these topics in a constructive manner. Suicide is a public health issue that needs to be discussed. Those suffering from mental illness need safe places to express themselves.

@autopsy.pathology will continue to remain a positive environment for those who wish to give and receive support. If Instagram removes the page, there is a backup. Censorship has no place here.

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