Instagram Changes Nudity Policy After Plus-Size Model Row

Jessica Davis
·2-min read
Photo credit: Alexandra Cameron
Photo credit: Alexandra Cameron


Instagram and its parent company Facebook will update its nudity policy to ensure all body types are fairly treated after controversy over a plus-size model.

In the summer, Instagram was accused of censoring Nyome Nicholas-Williams which sparked others to come forward and accuse the platform of repeatedly discriminating against Black people and plus-size women by deleting their photos or not promoting them in the same way as it did for white users.

According to the Observer, photographs from a “confidence shoot” by Nicholas-Williams and photographer Alexandra Cameron were repeatedly deleted and were warned their accounts would be too.

Fans protested and continued to post the pictures along with the hashtag #IWantToSeeNyome, after the image in question was deemed to violate Instagram’s pornography guidance.

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WE FUCKING DID IT!! @ginamartin @alex_cameron and I...we changed an Instagram policy! Look what happens when three women set out to change the world! We have put our heart and souls into this campaign and to see it come to fruition is insane! The observer newspaper (which is out today) has covered the campaign from the beginning and have written another article which highlights the hard work Gina, Alex and I have done (although it states they launched the campaign) this is in fact not the case as Gina, Alex and myself strategised for three months to ensure a change would happen. Hang tight for the full details of the policy change, as I will be detailing more information soon. We worked very hard on this and managed to get Instagram and @mosseri attention and there's still a lot of work to be done, as black plus sized women continue to be censored in many ways; and white women STILL tried to hijack and make it their campaign. There is of course a huge racial imbalance in the algorithm that still exists as white bodies are promoted and don't have to worry about censorship of their posts but black bodies still have to justify presence on the platform, this has also been brought to Instagrams attention! But when we put our minds to it... we can achieve literally ANYTHING!! I’d like to thank the 16 amazing humans that put their names to our open letter and that helped us push our campaign forward! The Instagram policy changes on the 28th, it outlines the difference between 'breast holding' or 'cupping' which is a celebration of body and 'breast grabbing' which is deemed to be pornographic, these images are censored to protect underage users but this policy change should allow them to better differentiate self expression/ art from pornographic content. Hopefully this policy change will bring an end to the censorship of fat black bodies. The last three have been absolutely wild to say the least but we move and move things we did! 🙌🏽💫

A post shared by Nyome Nicholas - Williams (@curvynyome) on Oct 25, 2020 at 5:00am PDT

Nicholas-Williams was shocked that “a fat Black woman celebrating her body is banned… I want to promote self-love and inclusivity because that’s how feel and how I want other women like me to feel.”

Instagram and Facebook denied Nicholas-Williams had been racially discriminated against, but confirmed that its former policy on “boob squeezing” had caused her photos to be removed.

Gina Martin, a campaigner who also fought Instagram with Nicholas-Williams, said: "Working for Nyome to strategise this campaign has been important to me, because it's a clear example of what happens when women come together, get organised, offer their skills and uplift each other. Online activism is important and Instagram's willingness to engage with us on this shows that holding platforms accountable respectfully really works. We're so happy to see these guidelines become an official change and Nyome be celebrated."

Instagram says it will now allow content where someone is simply hugging, cupping or holding their breasts, and will consult reviewers if there is any uncertainty as to the nature of the images. "We do have to draw the line somewhere, so when people squeeze their breasts in a grabbing motion with bent fingers or if there is a clear change in the shape of the breasts, that content will still break our rules," read a statement from Instagram. "This policy will apply across Instagram and Facebook."

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