Facebook’s Instagram site is overrun with pornography and other sexually charged images and videos that are accessible to the site’s many teenaged users.
This is strange given the site’s strict nudity rules, which Instagram has been mocked for in the past. According to the site’s Community Guidelines, even “artistic” nudity is forbidden:
This includes photos, videos, and some digitally-created content that show sexual intercourse, genitals, and close-ups of fully-nude buttocks. It also includes some photos of female nipples, but photos of post-mastectomy scarring and women actively breastfeeding are allowed. Nudity in photos of paintings and sculptures is OK.
Even so, the raunchy Instagram content isn’t too hard to find. Searching for terms like “nude,” “babes” or “sexy” or variations thereof or the name of any porn star in the site’s search bar will quickly uncover accounts that flout the site’s ban on nudity and aren’t filtered to prevent minors from seeing them. #Sexy has more than 57 million posts, many of which are clips from porn videos while #porngirls has more than 300,00o of them.
In a recent experiment, digital safety organization Protect Young Eyes filed 50 reports in 5 days on hashtags that featured pornographic content and got no response from Instagram. I got no response from the social media site either. I suspect that one reason why the solution to Instagram porn problem has proven to be elusive is that too much money is being made. This is highly problematic for many reasons.
Instagram is the second most popular social media site behind YouTube among teen users, according to The Pew Research Center. The site allows users as young as 13 to have accounts though younger users use the site with their parent’s permission. It markets itself as family-friendly and tried to explain in Parent’s Guide why their teens are big fans of the site.
“Because they love consuming and creating media, sharing it and socializing, and Instagram makes all that doable in a simple, eye-catching way. Teens also like the ability to create ‘stories’ that disappear after 24 hours,” the Guide says.
Porn stars are also big fans of Instagram. Social media is a huge deal in the adult entertainment industry since porn stars are making less money than they used to because so much free porn is available on the internet.
Porn stars market themselves to their existing fans and try and recruit new ones by posting pictures of themselves in various states of undress. I don’t blame them for making the most of Instagram.
“Porn stars are always trying to connect with their fans on social media to provide a rainbow of options that oftentimes leads them to where they can see more of them,” writes Don Parret, Executive Editorial Director for the trade publication X-Biz, in an email. “It’s commonplace to find performers with verified Instagram accounts to have millions of followers. So, it’s incredibly important for many adult performers and cam stars to make sure they don’t get bumped for going beyond SFW.
I’ve seen numerous adult stars get hysterical over losing their social media accounts, including Instagram, over a slip-up.”
Instagram needs to either better enforce its existing rules or revise them to reflect the current reality.