Instagram updates its image guidelines – photos of nudity in paintings and sculptures are now OK

In short, the photo and video sharing app says be respectful: no nudity, no spam, no law-breaking. Although not a dramatic change to previous guidelines, the overhaul now includes more details and has adopted a tougher tone. Before, guidelines asked users to be polite and respectful. The revised version is much longer and specifies that “serious threats of harm to public and personal safely aren’t allowed.”  

It also provides more specific rules for nudity. Before, Instagram asked users to refrain from posting “nudity or mature content.” Acknowledging the complexity of this request, it now specifically allows nudity in photos of paintings and sculptures, and “photos of post-mastectomy scarring and women actively breastfeeding,” but prohibits “ digitally-created content that show sexual intercourse, genitals, and close-ups of fully-nude buttocks.”

Instagram also urges users to be “authentic” and “genuine”, by not posting “anything you’ve copied or collected from the Internet that you don’t have the right to post”. There are now links to a page that provides advice about intellectual property rights and copyright procedures.

The overhaul of Instagram’s community guidelines is the biggest since Facebook bought the app three years ago for $1 billion. The number of monthly users has since then risen from 30 million to 300 million. It is an important global community, which shares more than 60 million photos every day.

“How do we establish a baseline around nudity when you have hundreds of millions of users?” Nicky Jackson Colaco, director of public policy for Instagram told WSJ. “We need to create a standard that most people can live by.

See our piece about when the artist Richard Prince got into trouble for his use of Instagram…

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