Chelsea Handler is causing a stir over nudity on social media, quitting Instagram Friday after the service deleted a topless picture of herself that she posted Thursday. Handler later reposted the image on Twitter, where it remains live, saying Friday that “You can now find my dogs and my breasts on Twitter only where my followers have the right to choose.”
Instagram made similar headlines earlier this year after it censored photos of Scout Willis, daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, who posted topless photos as part of the ongoing “free the nipple” campaign. Facebook, which owns Instagram, lifted its nipple ban in photos of breastfeeding mothers earlier this year after months of debate over mastectomy, breastfeeding and other types of nudity.
Why can Handler post nudes on Twitter but not Instagram? It all boils down to differences in the apps’ rules.
Remember that our community is a diverse one, and that your posts are visible to people as young as 13 years old. While we respect the artistic integrity of photos and videos, we have to keep our product and the content within it in line with our App Store’s rating for nudity and mature content. In other words, please do not post nudity or mature content of any kind.
And here are Twitter’s terms, which don’t prohibit nudity, but ask that users who post “sensitive content” mark their accounts appropriately.
For the most part, using common sense won’t steer you wrong. If you upload media that might be considered sensitive content such as nudity, violence, or medical procedures, you should consider applying the account setting “Mark my media as containing sensitive content”.
We do not mediate content, whether that content is an image or text; however, some content is not permissible by law. All content should be marked appropriately as per our guidelines. You may not use our service for any unlawful purposes or in furtherance of illegal activities. International users agree to comply with all local laws regarding online conduct and acceptable content.
Uploaded images that are reported and that are determined to violate the law will be removed from the site and your account will be suspended. Please review the Twitter Rules for more information on these violations.
Images that have been marked as containing sensitive content will have a warning message that a viewer must click through before viewing the image. Only users who have opted in to see possibly sensitive content will see these images without the warning message. Check out this article for more information on settings and best practices.
Interestingly, Instagram explicitly frames its stricter rules as an effort to keep its 12+ age rating in Apple’s App Store — but Twitter, with its more lenient rules, is rated 4+. This isn’t the first example of app nudity rules making little sense; the subject also came up a few years back when a publisher of adult content wanted to get nudie mags on Apple’s iPad. Apple’s rules, for whatever they’re worth, have this to say:
Apps containing pornographic material, defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “explicit descriptions or displays of sexual organs or activities intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings”, will be rejected.
Apps that contain user generated content that is frequently pornographic (e.g. “Chat Roulette” Apps) will be rejected.