Instagram defends nudity rules after Scout Willis 'nipple ban' topless protest

CEO Kevin Systrom said their rules on nudity ensure the site is suitable for both teens and adults

The co-founder of Instagram has defended its rules on nudity following a ‘nipple ban protest’ that saw Scout Willis walk around New York City topless after being banned from the site.

The CEO of the social network has since spoken about its terms of use surrounding nudity, which state: "You may not post violent, nude, partially nude… pornographic or sexually suggestive photos."

Ms Willis, the daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, was removed from Instagram for posting a photograph of a sweatshirt she designed featuring two topless women.

The 22-year-old responded by posting pictures of herself shopping for fresh flowers at a market stall while entirely bare chested and walking down Manhattan Street in just a skirt and pumps as part of her #freethenipple campaign on Twitter.

Grace Coddington, US Vogue creative director and former model, was temporarily banned from Instagram last week after posting a topless line drawn cartoon of herself reclining in a chair.

Singer Rhianna, who had 1.3 million followers before shutting her Instagram account down, also tweeted her support for the campaign.

Read more: Why Instagram won't #freethenipple

CEO Kevin Systrom told BBC Newsbeat the rules are the same for both celebrities and users who are not famous in order to ensure the site is appropriate for both teens and adults.

"Our goal is really to make sure that Instagram, whether you're a celebrity or not, is a safe place and that the content that gets posted is something that's appropriate for teens and also for adults," he explained.

"We need to make certain rules to make sure that everyone can use it."

In a blog post for XO Jane after launching her campaign, Ms Willis explained her reasons for launching a topless campaign in detail. She writes: “Women are regularly kicked off Instagram for posting photos with any portion of the areola exposed, while photos sans nipple — degrading as they might be — remain unchallenged.

“So I walked around New York topless and documented it on Twitter, pointing out that what is legal by New York state law is not allowed on Instagram.”

"Why would it be okay with Instagram and Facebook to allow photos of a cancer survivor who has had a double mastectomy and is without areolas but “photos with fully exposed breasts, particularly if they’re unaffected by surgery, don’t follow Instagram’s Community Guidelines?"

Instragam responded to Ms Willis after her protest and said it was "happy to reinstate" her account "without the images that don't meet our policies".

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