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Instagram updates posting guidelines: butts are out, breastfeeding is in

Newly-clarified guidelines also feature stronger language about harassment and discrimination

Andrew Griffin
Friday 17 April 2015 11:52 BST
An employee holds a cup with the Instagram logo at Facebook's corporate headquarters during a media event
An employee holds a cup with the Instagram logo at Facebook's corporate headquarters during a media event (Getty Images)

Instagram has updated its community guidelines, adding harsher language on nudity and discrimination and making clear what kind of nudity is and isn’t allowed.

The new guidelines ban posts featuring bare buttocks, genitals, intercourse and “some photos of female nipples”. They permit images of breastfeeding and mastectomy scarring.

While Instagram says that it realises that people might want to share nude images “that are artistic or creative in nature”, nudity will be banned on the site. “Nudity in photos of paintings and sculptures is OK, too,” the rules say.

It will also move to ban some images that show nude or partially-nude children for safety reasons. “Even when this content is shared with good intentions, it could be used by others in unanticipated ways,” Instagram says, pointing to a special page that features advice for parents that use the site.

They also feature more clear language on harassment and abuse. In a section titled “don’t be rude”, the guidelines tell users that “it's never OK to encourage violence or attack anyone based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, disabilities, or diseases”.

They also write that Instagram “is not a place to support or praise terrorism, organized crime, or hate groups”. They ban other illegal activities like offering sexual services, selling drugs or promoting their use.

Instagram will also move to take down pictures glorifying self-harm, it writes. They will remove such pictures or disable the accounts of those posting them, as well as taking down content that identifies victims or survivors of self-harm.

As with Facebook’s guidelines, Instagram doesn’t say outright that it will ban violent videos.

“We understand that people often share this kind of content to condemn or raise awareness,” the guidelines say. “If you do share content for these reasons, we encourage you to caption your photo with a warning about graphic violence. Sharing graphic images for sadistic pleasure or to glorify violence is never allowed.”

While Instagram stressed that the policies themselves were not new, and that it had simply made the guidance more detailed, the new terms give much more detail on what exactly is banned and not.

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