Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram remove content that is against community guidelines or is perceived to be deviant behavior. Users also delete their own content that they feel is not appropriate within personal or community norms. In this paper, we examine characteristics of over 30,000 pro-eating disorder (pro-ED) posts that were at one point public on Instagram but have since been removed. Our work shows that straightforward signals can be found in deleted content that distinguish them from other posts, and that the implications of such classification are immense. We build a classifier that compares public pro-ED posts with this removed content that achieves moderate accuracy of 69%. We also analyze the characteristics in content in each of these post categories and find that removed content reflects more dangerous actions, self-harm tendencies, and vulnerability than posts that remain public. Our work provides early insights into content removal in a sensitive community and addresses the future research implications of the findings.
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