For a few months now, Instagram has been dealing with something called the #freethenipple movement. Essentially, a growing number of women have been posting topless photos of themselves to their Instagram accounts and daring the dudes monitoring Instagram to take them down.
Because Instagram has been using a litmus test that allows side boob, suggestive cleavage and other breast-related imagery as long as there is no visible nipple. If Instagram sees a nipple, that photo is coming down.
That strange delineation descends into a bathos of censorship - #freethenipple proponents argue - when one takes into account the seemingly infinite number of topless bro selfies (male nipples and all) that populate so many Instagram feeds.
#freethenipple has become something of a bête noire for Instagram and its CEO Kevin Systrom. So, Systrom took to a panel in London yesterday and addressed the whole thing head on. Luckily BI was on the scene to hear why Instagram is so selectively offended by certain features of the mammary gland.
Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom has explained one of the key reasons that the company censors pictures of female nipples: Apple's App Store has strict guidelines on what kind of content is allowed, and violating these rules could cause the app to be removed.
So it's those puritanical nerds in Cupertino who are hating on nipples so hard! Systrom would apparently let Miley Cyrus show her papillae all over his app if he had his druthers, but apparently that fussbudget Tim Cook will pull Instagram from the App Store at the first sight of even a hint of areola.
Well, maybe all the #freethenipple-ers owe Systrom and his team an apology. They aren't afraid of nipples, in fact they look at them all of the time... all over the internet.
Instagram is in a tough position when it comes to #FreeTheNipple. As Systrom pointed out, the internet hardly lacks pictures of female nipples, and viewing them on Instagram is not essential to the service.
Systrom didn't offer specific links to nipple-viewing websites,because we assume that he didn't want to hear Jony Ive's commanding voice calling him up and lecturing him about what's proper.
Somewhere, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel is smirking and muttering "You've got this all wrong, bros. All. Wrong."