Tough Titties: Instagram Ban on Nudity

No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service.

Instagram, an addictively fun social photo network recently acquired by Facebook, is now undeniably extremely conservative when it comes to posts containing nudity or suggestive sexuality. I learned this the hard way a few weeks ago when I posted some photos from a shoot, including a nude-ish image of me and Danni Daniels for JL+DD. I uploaded them, and then went off-line.

When I returned to my phone a few hours later, I found an email from the service, announcing that my account had been deactivated due to violating the Terms of Service.

Instagram doesn’t fuck around.

Because the app uses a phone’s unique id, there’s no way of signing up for a new account. Contacting their non-responsive customer support did not help, either. Even “jailbraking” an iPhone and using a UDID Hacker App would not work. Do a quick search online and you’ll find countless users abandoned by Instagram for posting nude images. Even cleavage shots! The most famous example was Daniel Arnold, who got banned for posting boobs. Even the “best photographer on Instagram” himself couldn’t lobby for account reactivation.

Fortunately for me, the banned account came at a time when I was eager to upgrade my phone anyhow. So with my new phone, I was able to sign up again — and create “JizLeePG”, an account which I SWEAR will be as non-sexual as unhumanly possible.

Nude behavior — This image got me booted.

Naturally, I can’t help but post nude/sexually-suggestive images, so I’ve got a work-around.

I’ve set up an iPhoneography section of this website to post images, keeping the fun, filtered square aesthetic, as well as commenting options. I’ll link to the images here from social networks, just as I would with Instagram. So follow me on Twitter or RSS my blog for easy access.

I’m able to post from my phone by using the Twitter Image Host plugin along with Tweetbot App for it’s custom photo API. If you want the same flexibility and don’t have your own website, you can also just use Tumblr.

Had I realized Instagram was so explicitly strict about their TOS, I wouldn’t have spared an inch of flesh in letting the images push nude boundaries.

May this post serve as a word of caution to any user who thinks a flagged image will only end with a slap on the wrist.

From Instagram’s TOS:

Basic Terms
#2. You may not post nude, partially nude, or sexually suggestive photos.

General Conditions
#1 We reserve the right to modify or terminate the Instagram service for any reason, without notice at any time.

I hope this helps for any current Instagram User to serve as a cautionary tale, and I hope you will like my JizLeePG Instagram images as much as you like my self-hosted XXX ones. It sucks that this issue bumps up against nudity and cisgender nipple policing, that I can’t show my bare chest in a way that is not seen as “nude” or “topless” because of my female breasts. This inequality has been a long struggle for me, and it doesn’t help that we still can’t find a way to share human experiences in a way that isn’t fraught with prudish and inconsistent segregation. Banning nudity doesn’t keep us safe, and luckily for us, technology will always have a work-around. Until that day, love the skin you’re in.

Update: a while later I discovered that I could rename my account and effectively get the original handle back. At this time you can still follow me on Instagram at @JizLee


  • sinn sage

    LOVE your final paragraph Jiz!!!
    yes, i too was kicked. i originally downloaded instagram because i was under the mistaken impression that they DID allow nudity! well, now i upload my pics via TUMBLR and i must sing the praises of tumblr for resisting the perils of which you spoke in your last paragraph.
    miss you 🙂

  • lbryvxn

    This too happened to me for posting a cartoon image of nudity (though, I may have been guilty of pushing the envelope prior to the expulsion), but wow! I was very very sad. Glad you are back up- IG is a wonderfully unique and intimate look into people lives and love that– it is unfortunate we cannot show all our selves there, but still one of my favorite apps ever.

  • Ms Freak

    I wonder what their idea of “partial nudity” is. Would a woman wearing short shorts count? How about a baby picture of kids in the tub (I think everyone has pics like that).

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