Instagram Finally Revealed the Reason It Banned Nipples — It's Apple

Instagram Finally Revealed the Reason It Banned Nipples — It's Apple
Source: Instagram
Source: Instagram

Instagram finally came clean about its arbitrary and often-targeted policy of banning female nipples — and it's throwing its hands up in the air and blaming someone else. 

That someone else? Apple

Speaking during a Dazed Media event in London on Wednesday, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom explained that Apple's App Store, which houses Instagram, has stringent policies when it comes to inappropriate content. According to Systrom, if Instagram runs up against these rules in any way — like allowing the posting of nipples — the app runs the risk of being banned from the store.

As it stands, the app store only allows explicit nudity if the app is rated 17+; Instagram is currently rated 12+. Systrom argued that if the app were to increase its age bracket, it would end up keeping out many younger users who only want to see nonexplicit content.

Despite the censorship, the company is "committed to artistic freedom," Systrom said, according to Business Insider. He did admit, however, that "in order to scale effectively, there are [some] tough calls" — banning the nipple included. 

But is it fair to blame Apple? Instagram, by pointing the finger at Apple, is effectively shirking responsibility for the policy, but the logic doesn't hold up. 

Twitter, for example, is rated 4+, but peruse the platform for a few minutes and you'll notice something — it's full of naked bodies, nipples included. There are porn accounts galore, as well as videos and photos of nudity. Yet Apple hasn't brought down the hammer on CEO Jack Dorsey and company.

Instagram and Twitter are different companies with different philosophies and policies, but Apple's treatment of both should ostensibly follow the same rules. Their attitude toward the latter is telling — and something the former should take note of.

Source: YouTube

Countless celebrities have come out in opposition to Instagram's policies, which ban images of nipples except in cases of breastfeeding and mastectomy scars. Chrissy Teigen took up the cause in June, and Chelsea Handler, Miley Cyrus, Rihanna and Scout Willis have all joined the chorus of women (and men) who believe the ban represents a double standard. (Instagram is currently cool with photos featuring men's nipples.)

For now, however, it looks as though Instagram is standing firm on its decision to cage the nipple, artistic freedom be damned.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Sophie Kleeman

Sophie is a staff writer at Mic covering the intersection of tech and culture. She's based in New York and can be reached at sophie@mic.com.

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