We've documented Instagram's (and its parent company Facebook's) hatred of the female form for years. The company basically bans photos of female nipples, unless they are attached to a baby or on a sculpture.
Instagram's actual, word-for-word policy on nudity says...
“We know that there are times when people might want to share nude images that are artistic or creative in nature, but for a variety of reasons, we don’t allow nudity on Instagram. This includes photos, videos, and some digitally-created content that show sexual intercourse, genitals, and close-ups of fully-nude buttocks. It also includes some photos of female nipples, but photos of post-mastectomy scarring and women actively breastfeeding are allowed. Nudity in photos of paintings and sculptures is OK, too."
Of course, people challenge this all the time and Instagram is always fighting to remove offending conduct. Plenty of celebrities are unhappy with Instagram's ban on boobs, and even more everyday users are testing its boundaries with #freethenipple posts.
Why is Instagram so anti-nudity?
For the first time, its CEO kind of gave an answer to that. And by answer I mean he passed the buck.
Speaking recently at an event, Kevin Systrom said that it's basically Apple's fault that Instagram is so puritanical.
From Business Insider:
Systrom said at the event hosted by Dazed Media on Wednesday in Shoreditch, London, that Apple's App Store has strict guidelines on the types of content allowed within apps, explicitly banning nudity unless the app is rated 17+. He went on to say that Instagram wants to appeal to as many users as possible, and gaining a higher age rating would prohibit younger users who want to view PG-13 content.
Despite the censorship, Instagram remains "committed to artistic freedom," according to Systrom. He went on to say that "in order to scale effectively there are [some] tough calls." For Instagram, banning some photos of female nipples is one of these tough calls.
Instagram is in a tough position when it comes to #FreeTheNipple. As Systrom pointed out, the internet hardly lacks pictures of female nipples, and viewing them on Instagram is not essential to the service.
While Systrom is 100% correct in painting Apple as the equivalent of Carrie's mom ranting about dirty pillows, this answer is kind of a cop out.
Twitter is an app that is in no danger of being banned by Apple, yet it features nipple after nipple after nipple. Hardcore porn, too. Twitter's a porn free-for-all.
It's rated 4+.
Look, Systrom's right – if you want to find nipples on the internet, you don't need Instagram. But don't blame it on Apple. Apple has dumb guidelines for app submissions, absolutely. But Instagram just surpassed 400 million users. It's not going anywhere, no matter what kind of rating you slap on it. And it's not like Apple's going to rate Instagram mature for a relaxation of its nipple policy. Despite Apple's laughable policies, there are still plenty of apps in the App Store that act as gateways to boobies.