The social networks and the nudes: a problematic relationship

To say that social networks have become the space where internet shares everything that is true to some extent. Politics, sport, cinema, humor, opinions for all tastes and colors… Apart from filtering imposed by some Governments to some pages and content, in the networks is you can share everything except pornography or sexually explicit images. The problem is that many times, what is sexual content and what is not is not clear. Instagram has been the latest addition to the controversy. The photo-sharing social network has banned the images that people upload female breasts are seen. Specifically, it has censored the nipples.

This is where the network draws the line, with the invention, said Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, that it remains a safe “for teens and adults” space. The Systrom has been forced to speak out after Scout Willis, daughter of actors Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, publish a self-portrait walking naked from the waist up on the streets of New York.

Willis protested what they considered “censorship” by the network, which withdrew a previous image of a T-shirt designed by her and was seen in two women in topless. “Instagram, there is no way to directly contact. I would like to give me a response, why me deprive plenty of memories, why hate nipples”.

Instagram and Facebook: banned nipples

In terms of use of Instagram direct reference to this question is, when it is stated that “should not upload images or other violent content, showing complete or partial, discriminatory, unlawful, infringing, hateful, pornographic or nudity sexually suggestive via this service”. In fact, the network has a photo list of hashtags or blocked tags, including both sexual terms as insults or violence-related words.

In this Instagram has done nothing but adopting the policy of its older sister, Facebook, which does not allow the publication of images you see nipples, and the thing has cost more than one problem. Support groups for patients with breast cancer as well as defense of breastfeeding found its publications withdrawals on more than one occasion. Its photos had nothing pornographic or even sexual connotation, but the network did Zuckerberg or distinctions. However, as Jorge Morell, a lawyer and expert on terms and conditions of service on the Internet, from the latest controversy Facebook says it has been forced to revisit this issue and since late last year allows photos breastfeeding mothers.


Although these are not just specific groups that may find its locked page and a friendly message asking for the removal of an image that does not like Facebook. Page of this newspaper was temporarily blocked due to the publication of a photograph in which he saw a member of FEMEN protest group in full. Despite its informative intention, the content did the alarm network and the page was not restored until the photo was not withdrawn.

On the other hand, Twitter and Tumblr

In the opposite view Twitter and Tumblr are two networks in which the rules are much looser and is not hard to find nude photos and even sexually explicit. In fact, there are many accounts exclusively dedicated to this type of content in both and needless to say that its followers in the thousands.

By its own operation and philosophy, it would be difficult to Twitter act otherwise. The network of microblogging makes the immediacy and opening their hallmark: the idea is that users share their content in ways that reach as many people as possible. That makes it very difficult to implement a control like the one Facebook, not to say they have fewer human and material resources to do so.

In the case of Tumblr it is something different. This network, more minority, can a few clicks to create a blog that others can also subscribe very easily, and it predominates the content of artistic or creative type, and there bare rampant. It is estimated that 10% of blogs are labeled NSFW (not suitable for work, or erotic). When Yahoo bought the network in early 2013, users took the nails to the possibility that wanted to modify its terms to make it for everyone, eliminating the erotic or sexual content. In this small universe, that a real limitation of freedom of expression and artistic censorship even be considered.

Marissa Mayer’s company had to ensure that content would respect, and indeed it did… sort of. Although not eliminated or limited these images (and videos), yes that’s removed from the searches, so that they were almost impossible to find anyone who did not know exactly what I was looking for. Some tags like # lesbian # gay or straight stopped giving results.

The special features of Google+ and Pinterest

In this scenario, Google+ and Pinterest are secondary players, but they also have a say in the matter, since much of their content (especially in the second case) are images. All social networks have a very, very clear and strict stance against images that appear minors in a sexual context, but perhaps the most complete Google+: do not allow these images in any way, oncluidos cartoons.

As for Pinterest, in its Acceptable Use Policy explains that not only is forbidden to publish images “sexually explicit or pornographic, or submit exploiting minors in a sexual context or that advertise sexual services”. It presents examples of what is acceptable and what is not about nudity. Luckily, Pinterest has no problems with breastfeeding, or the David by Michelangelo.

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