Instagram is a platform that many content creators rely on heavily to publish their media collaborations, partnerships with larger brands and sponsored posts. As much as we can all get a little annoyed with influencer culture and paid posts, this is what allows many people (photographers included) to make a living.
For cosplayers, having their accounts terminated or in this case disabled can impact not only their form of income, but can be a very hard thing to deal with after putting in the hours and effort to build up a respected platform and large social following.
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This has been the case for @Cumbermatch on Instagram (Peter Clark), who has been accused of pretending to be and impersonating the famous Doctor Strange actor Benedict Cumberbatch, whom Peter very closely resembles as a lookalike, both outside of cosplay and when portraying the character of Marvel's Doctor Strange.
To many, Peter is a talented member of the cosplayer community, and he has even been invited to Marvel movie premieres dressed as the character Doctor Strange. This supposedly doesn't matter to Instagram, after the platform yesterday disabled Peter's account for allegedly pretending to be somebody else.
Despite looking strikingly similar to his doppelgänger, Peter has never claimed to be the actor, and has even posted images online of the two of them photographed together to show that they are very different people. Peter has always been extremely transparent online, making it explicitly clear on all of his social media channels in the bio space that he is NOT the actor Benedict Cumberbatch.
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The art of cosplay often involves portraying a character as accurately as possible through their screen-accurate clothing, facial features, mannerisms and overall attention to details, though cosplayers can also choose to make the character uniquely their own and change certain features that include gender-bending a character, where they portray a male or female version of said character.
So the fact that Peter's account was disabled kinda means that he is the BEST at his job of being a professional paid cosplayer, and clearly doing something right.
With movements rallying on social media to restore Instagram's original status as a photo sharing site first and foremost, with even the Kardashians taking a stand, it seems that the company will confusingly stop at nothing to steer its creators away from using the platform. Even general Instagram users are upset that they no longer see posts from those they follow or friends, with home feeds flooded with TikTok-style reels and videos from strangers/influencers that they do not follow and did not choose to see.
Something needs to be done about instagram's ridiculous algorithms and policies, especially as a new rival app appears to be taking the Apple and Android stores by storm. BeReal is a new photo sharing social media platform that's been labelled by some as the "Anti-Instagram" app - everyone seems to be switching as consumers are fed up and have presumably reached the final straw of Instagram's idiotics.
While impersonation on Instagram is a very serious thing that does happen (It has happened to me previously with one of my accounts) and should be handled firmly, Instagram as a company and platform clearly don't have algorithms intelligent enough to differentiate between cosplay and identity theft.
Once flagged up, an expert or at the very least a real human should be tasked with assessing these circumstances, where Instagram very clearly failed to take the correct approach when deciding to suspend Peter's account, when he had done absolutely nothing wrong.
What do you think of Instagrams current policies and community guidelines? Who are they really in place to benefit? Instagram needs to have a serious re-model of its structure, as photographers and creatives are quickly abandoning the platform until it gets its act together.
UPDATE: The main Instagram profile for Peter Clark @Cumbermatch seems to have been restored and the suspension revoked, as the cosplayer and content creator shares his thanks on his secondary backup account, @cumbermatch2, thanking social media users, followers and other cosplayers for their support.
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