Instagram has announced that it will allow content showing someone is "simply hugging, cupping or holding their breasts," after a model Nyome Nicholas-Williams launched a campaign and the hashtag #iwanttoseenyome spread across the platform.
The model posted a photograph of herself, sitting on a chair against a floral background, while wearing cycling shorts, and covering her breasts with her arms. The image was captured by photographer Alexandra Cameron. But Nicholas-Williams wrote to the social media platform after her image was removed—something which the model argued demonstrated "racial bias".
Along with Nicholas-Williams, her supporters argued that the step taken by Instagram was discriminatory as the social media platform never took similar actions against the posts by some well-known celebrities, such as Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, and Emily Ratajkowski—who uploaded near-nude images of themselves.
'Have to Draw a Line'
After Instagram took down the photograph of Nicholas-Williams for violating the platform's semi-nudity guidelines, the model said, "I was wearing clothes and covering my chest, they were not provocative in any way, yet they kept getting flagged." The Black plus-sized model was also warned that if she reposts the image, her account will be suspended that has over 62,000 followers.
But after she started the campaign and passionately spoke out about the disparity she witnessed on the platform; Instagram announced that it will update its nudity policy to make sure that all "body types are treated fairly". The Facebook-owned platform also admitted that it was "falling short" on how its rules were being applied.
Instagram also said in a statement that it needs to "draw the line somewhere" so that when people hold their uncovered breasts "in a grabbing motion with bent fingers" or if a change in the shape of the breasts is clearly visible, "that content will still break our rules". The updated policy will be applicable across Instagram as well as for Facebook.
Nicholas-Williams said that she wanted to make sure that "we are being respected and allowed to use spaces like Instagram" as other users, without being worried about censorship. While citing Instagram's recent decision to update the policy, she said that "this is a huge step and I am glad a dialogue has now been opened into changes that can be made when women work together and use their platforms to make a change."
The head of policy on Instagram, Kira Wong O'Connor said, "We know people feel more empowered to express themselves" and create support communities, for example, the body positivity community, "if they feel that their bodies and images are accepted".
She also thanked Nyome for speaking openly and honestly about how she felt while using the platform. O'Connor said the company hopes that the change in the policy will help more people to express themselves more confidently. "It may take some time to ensure we're correctly enforcing these new updates but we're committed to getting this right", she added.