Bad news #FreeTheNipple enthusiasts, it looks like Instagram won't be letting go of its controversial policy on nudity anytime soon.
The reason? Apple's strict App Store guidelines.
According to Kevin Systrom, Instagram's CEO, Apple's App store has stringent policies when it comes to inappropriate content. Speaking at a Dazed Media event last week, he explained that if Instagram breaks these rules in any way, such as allowing the posting of nipples, the app runs the risk of being banned by the store.
Currently, the app store only allows explicit nudity if the app is rated 17+ -- however, Instagram is currently rated 12+. Systrom argues that if the app were to increase its age bracket, it would be excluding younger users who want to see nonexplicit content.
Despite the censorship, Systrom says Instagram remains "committed to artistic freedom." He went on to say that "in order to scale effectively there are [some] tough calls" -- ie. banning some photos of female nipples.
It is important to note, however, that not all female nipples are censored on the app. Instagram's community guidelines explain that things like post-masectomy scarring and photos of women breastfeeding are allowed. Still, there is gender bias at play with the policy, as male nipples aren't subjected to censorship. This double standard has been called out by celebrities such as Rihanna, Cara Delevingne, Miley Cyrus and Chrissy Teigen, all of whom are supporters of the #FreeTheNipple movement.
However, as Mic points out, it isn't exactly fair for Instagram to blame Apple. Twitter is rated 4+, but it's full nude photos and videos. However, Apple hasn't banned the app from its store.
So far, there is no word from Apple on Systrom's comments.