Instagram details when nipples are okay

Future of sex: No touching involved
Future of sex: No touching involved

Instagram is easing up on its no-nipple policy, but insists it will still scrub kiddie bathtub pictures from the site.

The photo-sharing social network clarified its community guidelines this week, explaining exactly what kind of nudity is banned and what is allowed.

Images that show sexual intercourse, genitals, and close-ups of fully-nude buttocks are banned. So are photos of female breasts, if they include the nipple -- except for pictures of breastfeeding or post-mastectomy scarring.

Nudity in photos of paintings and sculptures is okay, too.

But don't post pictures of your kids in the tub. Instagram said that "for safety reasons," it may remove images that show nude or partially-nude children.

"Even when this content is shared with good intentions, it could be used by others in unanticipated ways," the company said in its guidelines.

Female nudity on Instagram has become a controversial subject after the social network took down photos of women breastfeeding and blocked accounts of several prominent celebrities.

Instagram suspended Rihanna's account after the singer posted a topless photo of herself on the cover of Lui magazine. Photos posted by Chelsea Handler, Scout Willis and Miley Cyrus have also been removed from Instagram.

In protest, many have taken to Twitter (TWTR), which has looser nudity standards. Willis, Handler, and Cyrus have recently posted topless photos of themselves with the hashtag #FreeTheNipple.

Though Instagram has updated its nudity rules to relax its rules a little bit, it has largely been unmoved by the Free the Nipple campaign.

"We've spent a lot of time thinking about the different points of view," the company said. "We know that there are times when people might want to share nude images that are artistic or creative in nature, but for a variety of reasons, we don't allow nudity on Instagram."

In addition to clarifying what kind of nudity is and isn't allowed, Instagram explicitly banned "revenge porn" and the promotion of illegal services like prostitution and drugs. It also now requires people to include a warning label when sharing graphic news photos.

The update comes a month after Facebook (FB), Instagram's parent company, vastly revised its guidelines. The policies are mostly similar, and more explicitly ban or allow certain items that were previously gray areas. The clarifications have become necessary as the social networks have run afoul of various interest groups and users when they have taken down controversial posts.

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