Instagram has released a new set of guidelines to provide a more detailed definition of the photos that are deemed sexual, illegal, and offensive to others.
The update follows one month after Facebook, the parent company of Instagram, changed its own censorship guidelines so that users would have an easier time reading them.
"Post only your own photos and videos and always follow the law. Respect everyone on Instagram, don't spam people or post nudity," Instagram wrote in its Community Guidelines page. This is a brief, but strong statement that summarizes what the photo-sharing service expects from its more than 300 million users.
The updated guidelines provide users more detailed rules on images to prevent pornography and harassment. Instagram admitted that it doesn't review each and every photo uploaded by its users. It relies solely on the reports and complaints of other users to decide whether a photo is offensive or violating the guidelines.
"How do we establish a baseline around nudity when you have hundreds of millions of users?" Nicky Jackson Colaco, director of public policy for Instagram, told the Wall Street Journal. "We need to create a standard that most people can live by."
Instagram didn't change much in the guidelines, but rather clarified its definition of nudity. For instance, "sexual intercourse, genitals, and close-ups of fully nude buttocks" are prohibited, while breastfeeding images are allowed. It seems that the company has learned its lesson from the past when critics bombarded them for taking down topless photos of women.
So what will you do if you don't like a photo, but it doesn't violate any of the guidelines?
Instagram's advice is to "unfollow or block the person who posted it, and if there's something you don't like in a comment on one of your posts, you can delete that comment."
Instagram is also imposing a tougher punishment to violators: disabled accounts.