Instagram changes policy on nude photos: what’s new

An oversized black model beats Instagram and forces the social to apologize: the algorithm is racist, the policy on nude should be changed

The social image par excellence, Instagram, is about to change its policy on artistic nude images. And it does so after a heavy controversy born from the removal of a photo of semi-nude art published by curvy black model Nyome Nicholas-Williams, already a champion of the fight against body shaming, who accused the platform of being racist.

Instagram has taken note of the error made by its algorithm and promised to correct it, explaining, however, that it will take some time before the technical adjustments come fully into operation. "But we're committed to getting it right," a spokeswoman said. Instagram actually didn't respond directly to the accusations of racial bias, but said, "In addition to this policy change, earlier this year we engaged in broader equity work to ensure we better support the black community on our platform."

Nude photos on Instagram: the controversy

Instagram's policy on nude photos is clear: "no nude content is allowed on Instagram [...] Photos of female nipples are also included, while photos of scars from a mastectomy and women breastfeeding are accepted. Photos of paintings and sculptures with nude images are also accepted."

The removed photo of Nyome Nicholas-Williams, however, did not formally violate this policy: it showed the model sitting, three-quarter view, with her legs crossed and her breasts covered by her arms. Yet it was removed, infuriating Nicholas-Williams: "Thin, white bodies are praised and appreciated for their form when they appear nude on this platform, and the images are never removed, nor are they asked why the photo was posted [...] We all have bodies and can choose to celebrate them as we wish. Renaissance paintings were mostly based on the naked body, I love art so I know! How did we become so afraid to share our art and celebrate our bodies without being sexualized or judged by others? This is art, I am art!"

The reference, very clear, of the black model is to her white colleagues who play a lot with the rules of the social, publishing photos much more "thrust", but without being penalized. A famous case of such behavior, adored by fans and tolerated by the platform, was that of Emily Ratajkowski.

Instagram's new policy on nudity

To extinguish the controversy, definitely dangerous at a time of racial clashes like those that have been taking place for months in the United States, Instagram has decided to change its policy: it will now allow the publication of images of women holding, covering with their hands or arms around their breasts, changing the previous guidelines that led to the removal of some of these images because they were considered pornographic.