This article originally appeared on 60 Second Social.

Instagram, the photo and video sharing app has released a significant update to its community guidelines which seeks to clarify issues regarding nudity and abuse.

Social media platforms are finding it difficult to balance a commitment to openness and freedom online with creating a safe environment for its now 300 million monthly active users of all different ages. The app has had a particularly hard time dealing with female nudity.

The old policy asked users to refrain from posting nudity any any form however the new guidelines are a bit more informative and flexible. Instagram now say that “photos of post-mastectomy scarring and women actively breastfeeding are allowed.” Nudity in paintings and sculptures is also allowed.

via Instagram

Instagram has found controversy over failing to remove photos of a sexually provocative nature in the past however at the same time they have removed photos of women breastfeeding their children. In 2014, Heather Bays told CTV news that she was “heartbroken” when Instagram deleted a photo of her breastfeeding her child and deactivated her account. Her account was later reinstated.

More notably Instagram landed themselves in hot water with Meghan Tonjes, one of my favourite YouTubers and Podcasters. Meghan shared a photo of her covered butt, a photo of her in her underwear which was removed as it violated Instagrams ToS at the time. The issue at the time was that while Meghan’s photo was taken down, a whole bunch of other photos from skimpy clad models remained on the Instagram app and were not taken down.

Meghan took to YouTube and generated massive amounts of interest online in her campaign which became known as #bootyrevolution , you can check out her video on what happened here.

Meanwhile, the other issue which is haunting all social media platforms to varying degrees is that of trolling and harassment. Doxing, threats and hate speech are now actively discouraged on Instagram and while they say the policies themselves are not changing as such, they are simply more detailed about the kind of content and behaviour that Instagram tolerates.

Nicky Jackson Colaco, director of public policy for Instagram told the Wall Street Journal, 

“In the old guidelines, we would say ‘don’t be mean’ … Now we’re actively saying you can’t harass people. The language is just stronger. How do we establish a baseline around nudity when you have hundreds of millions of users? We need to create a standard that most people can live by.

About The Author

Mark is the founder of 60 Second Social media where he provides social media news and digital marketing analysis. You can follow him on Twitter here. You can also follow 60 Second Social on Twitter here. Or you can drop Mark an email at, [email protected]

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