Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said a violation of Apple's App Store's guidelines could lead to Instagram's removal

By Char Adams
Updated October 06, 2015 04:35 PM
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom has responded to the #FreetheNipple movement – he says it’s Apple that requires women’s nipples to be censored on the photo app.

At a London event hosted by Dazed Media on Wednesday, Systrom said the strict guidelines of Apple’s App Store are to blame. Since Apple bans nudity on apps with ratings under 17+, he said, a violation of the rules could cause Instagram to be removed from the platform, Business Insider reports.

Systrom added that Instagram aims to appeal to users of many ages, and a 17+ rating would prohibit anyone under the age of 16 from purchasing the app. The app’s current rating is 12+, which means it may not be suitable for children under 12 years old (the rating allows for “infrequent or mild sexual content or nudity”). He did not seem to address the notion that female nipples are interpreted as nudity while male nipples are not.

While some photos of female nipples are censored, the company’s current community guidelines allow photos of post-mastectomy scarring and breastfeeding, as well as nudity in photos of paintings and sculptures.

Chrissy Teigen, Miley Cyrus and Chelsea Handler have all posted photos that have been censored. In October 2014, Handler Instagrammed a topless photo of herself on a horse, imitating a similar photo of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The photo was removed from Instagram, but Handler soon uploaded another pic, showing the notice the company sent her.

She included the caption: “If a man posts a photo of his nipples, it’s ok, but not a woman? Are we in 1825?”

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Now, stars like Cyrus, Naomi Campbell and Matt McGorry promote the #FreeTheNipple campaign, a women’s equality movement that aims to shed light on the double standards of censorship.