Instagram has updated some of its policies this week, what they like to call community guidelines, making their policy on nude photos a little clearer and also a little more ambiguous. We know that what content shows up on our social media is highly correlated to the people we “follow.” If you stop liking someone’s content, you simply unfollow, banishing them from your feed, never to be seen again. However, even if you are highly selective of accounts to which you subscribe, we all know that it’s not impossible that something entirely inappropriate, irrelevant, or unwanted may flow over the pixels of your screen. One of Instagram’s guidelines is “Post photos and videos that are appropriate for a diverse audience.”
We know that there are times when people might want to share nude images that are artistic or creative in nature, but for a variety of reasons, we don’t allow nudity on Instagram. This includes photos, videos, and some digitally-created content that show sexual intercourse, genitals, and close-ups of fully-nude buttocks. It also includes some photos of female nipples, but photos of post-mastectomy scarring and women actively breastfeeding are allowed. Nudity in photos of paintings and sculptures is OK, too.
While this all seems straight forward it is interesting what nudity they will allow, and that is primarily non-sexual nudity, like breastfeeding. However some level of ambiguity is created when it comes to allowing or disallowing any images of female nipples. This conversation was spurred by women equality activists with the face of an Instagram campaign called freethenipple starting the conversation of why men exposing their nipples is culturally accepted, but women doing the same is considered sexual and explicit content. It is important for us to remind ourselves, though, that social media is not a utility, nor are many of your rights preserved when using it. They are businesses and you should assume they have the right to do— well— pretty much anything, including removing your pictures of things that they feel don’t adhere to the community they manage; be it nipples, buttocks, or anything else you might be inclined share.
Any thoughts on Instagram’s nude policy changes? Share with us on social media or in the comments below!
Featured images courtesy Marinad and Clker