Rihanna shared a picture of her appearance on the cover of French magazine Lui, in which she appears in a hat and a pair of coral briefs. The image was shot by fashion photographer Mario Sorrenti.
However, nudity, partial nudity or sexually suggestive photographs are banned on Instagram and the social media platform temporarily closed her account until the picture was taken down. Instagram's censorship rules read:
If you wouldn't show the photo or video you are thinking about uploading to a child, or your boss, or your parents, you probably shouldn't share it on Instagram.
The same rule applies to your profile photo. Accounts found sharing nudity or mature content will be disabled and your access to Instagram may be discontinued.
In a picture, a little girl is seen lifting her dress to admire her new underpants, evidence to her of her first steps in toilet training. But the tummy and underpants are considered by Instagram to be nudity. Adamo was warned by the site about posting
inappropriate content, but not being able to recognise sexual tones in her children's photos fast enough she had her account deleted before she could resolve it.
Adamo's account has since been reactivated after mounting furore. But an incident like this still begs the questioin: are photography sharing sites being unnecessarily rigid about content and prudish about flesh? Facebook, for instance, has only just
lifted its long held ban on the appearance of female nipple in breastfeeding photos. Advertisement
Indeed, there's a deliberate reluctance to involve themselves in the debate required for interpreting content. Blanket policies alleviate social media sites from needing to pay people, rather than inexpensive filter programs, to do specialised decision
making. Adamo, cofounder of a fashionable online baby boutique had over 36,000 followers of her family photo album on Instagram before her account was removed.
Chelsea Handler is an American comedienne, actress, author, television host, writer and producer. She hosted a late-night talk show called Chelsea Lately on the E! network.
Chelsea Handler's bare breasts were on Instagram for roughly half an hour after she shared a topless photo of herself riding a horse .
The pic was a protest against an unfair double standard: Vladimir Putin can freely post topless pictures on horseback anywhere online without fear of censorship, but a lady's nipples are still considered obscene by many websites. Chelsea explained: Anything a man can do, a woman has the right to do better #kremlin.
Instagram repeated the censorship 3 times before Chelsea got the message the US can be more censorial than Russia and free speech does not apply when people are supposedly offended or outraged.
Instagram has updated its censorship rules to give users more insight into how it polices content on its site. Nicky Jackson Colaco, director of public policy for Instagram said:
We're not changing any of the policies. But the company has added in detail around questions we've gotten over and over, and into places where [users] needed more information.
Parent company, Facebook also updated censorship rules several weeks ago. And many of the policies outlined in Instagram's latest guidelines are the same as the one's Facebook explained in its latest rewrite. These include specific prohibitions against
messages that support or praise terrorism an or hate groups, serious threats of harm to public or private safety and clear statements against abuse of all kinds. Rules common to both websites say:
We remove content that contains credible threats or hate speech, content that targets private individuals to degrade or shame them, personal information meant to blackmail or harass someone, and repeated unwanted messages.
On the question of nudity, Instagram says that nudity in general-- and pornography specifically -- is off-limits. But photos of post-mastectomy scarring and women actively breastfeeding are allowed, the guidelines say, Nudity in photos of
paintings and sculptures is OK, too.
A scientific study has found that Instagram' s decision to ban certain words linked to pro-anorexia posts may have actually made the problem worse.
The study, conducted by a team at Georgia Tech, found that the censoring of terms like 'thighgap, thinspiration and secretsociety, commonly used by anorexia sufferers, initially caused a decrease in use.
However, they found that users adapted by simply making up new, almost identical words to get around Instagram's moderation, often by altering spellings to create terms like thygap and thynspooo .
Instagram's censoring of pro-eating disorder (ED) content began in 2012, when they began limiting what users could see when searching for certain terms.
Some terms, like #thinspiration, simply return no results when searched for in the app. Other terms, like #thin, are still searchable, but users first have to read a message warning them about the content and directing them towards ED support services
before they can see any pictures.
The researchers believe that by accidentally prompting the creation of these terms, Instagram polarised the vulnerable pro-ED community and actually increased how much members engaged with the content. Munmun De Choudury, an assistant professor at the
school, said: Likes and coments on these new tags were 15 to 30 per cent higher than the originals.