No matter how you feel about it, you are probably aware that Instagram has an official policy against nudity. If you’ve spent much time on the platform, you’re also mindful that their enforcement of that policy has some definite gray areas. By gray areas, we mean that it’s pretty easy to find nude content on Instagram. Worse, it showcases some severe bias.
According to Instagram, they do not allow images that depict genitals, close-ups of naked buttocks, or sexual intercourse. This ban can include female nipples, but exceptions may be made for breastfeeding, medical, or birth-related pictures. That includes photographs depicting gender confirmation surgery, post-mastectomy pictures, or images supporting breast cancer awareness.
Nudity as protest is allowed, so is nudity in art. Digitally created content may be treated the same as pictures and videos of real people or not.
Clearly, the nudity policy is subjective, and there are human beings often making the final decision. That’s understandable in some ways. Unfortunately, this has also led to some clear bias against plus-sized influencers, especially people of color.
Many plus-sized influencers find that their posts are being removed while similar posts are left up when slender women pose. That happens even more often when the picture depicts a POC. As a result, some Instagrammers are watching their posts just go viral, while others feel as if they are being censored. Worse, those Instagram influencers find themselves forced to pose their bodies in specific ways to accommodate this prejudice.
How Nudity Rules Impact Brands
It isn’t just influencers who are negatively impacted by Instagram’s policies (although they affect them significantly). Brands that sell sexual health products and other items advertised with anatomically correct graphics have removed posts.
That includes companies that sell incontinence products. Even a company that has used content to just go viral about the topic of revenge porn. Even though they exist solely to provide resources to targeted men and women, they’ve been banned due to hand-drawn images they use to educate and inform others.
Imagine being a plus-size Instagram model. You have a popular Instagram account and partner with a lingerie brand. The plan is to promote sensual products that fit more significant consumers well. This is an opportunity to earn money through your Instagram channel. More importantly, you are eager to share body-positive content and promote products you believe in.
You arrange a photoshoot and post some fantastic pictures. Within a few hours, most of the pictures are taken down. You’re notified that they are inappropriate. Oddly enough, you find plenty of similar images on other accounts that, for some reason, aren’t problematic.
Instagram Nudity and Brand Partnerships
What can you do? How do you handle that with your brand partner? Fortunately, if you’ve had a good relationship, your brand partner will work with you to produce content that does work. If things become contentious, you may be able to get advice and insights from JustGoViral. Still, this showcases how bias and uneven enforcement of nudity policies can make it difficult for some influencers to honor their contracts and share their content.
It does appear as if Instagram is willing to take a closer look at its policies. However, the changes they seem eager to make are very specific. They may not do much to address the more significant issue. However, it is a start and may give some women a bit of leeway regarding the content they can produce without censoring their posts.
How Else Does Instagram Policy on Nudity Impact Influencers?
The truth is that many influencers create adult content and have a presence on Instagram. There are also fitness, fashion, and lifestyle influencers who may pass content that these policies could impact.
Adult Content Influencers and Instagram
Of course, all of this brings up a few questions. There are influencers on the Instagram platform who specialize in 18+ content. How are they able to work within the platform guidelines when it comes to nudity? What if you’re an influencer who posts images, digital art, or other content that could fall within gray areas or be subjected to human bias?
Currently, adult content influencers rely mainly on OnlyFans for monetization. However, many have used Instagram in the past to build up an audience, engage in some mild content, and engage in some influencer marketing with brands that are friendly to their niche.
Now, those same influencers are facing a challenge. Oddly enough, the same update that loosened nudity restrictions prevents them from even promoting their adult content. If paired with a post containing a suggestive picture, the platform won’t permit a bio link to OnlyFans.
So, how can they remain active on Instagram but promote their adult content? Many take their chances by posting linking their OnlyFans, hoping that they won’t be penalized. Some even create and publish “backup” accounts, so their fans can find them should their primary accounts get banned.
Another approach is simply creating a barrier between platforms that welcome nudity or partial nudity and those that don’t. That means that influencers will avoid connecting their presence on OnlyFans with their Instagram account. This approach can benefit influencers who wish to engage in influencer marketing with brands that don’t want to be associated with that platform. These are similar to the steps that cannabis influencers must take to avoid being de-platformed.
Influencers who are involved in creating adult content should consider working with an influencer matching platform like JustGoViral. There, they can match with brands that are friendly to their niche. They can even receive assistance with creating mutually acceptable content agreements.
Final Thoughts: What Happens Next
For the time being, influencers should make a reasonable effort to comply with Instagram guidelines. However, if they choose to share content that could be in violation, they should do that with full awareness of any risk. Ideally, Instagram will work towards more equitable policies so that nobody is targeted unfairly.