Instagram Is Making a Major Change to Its Breast-Covering Policies

The move comes after the platform was accused of censoring plus-size model Nyome Nicholas-Williams.

Instagram to Change Breast Covering Policy
Photo: Getty Images

Instagram has refined its nudity policies following a months-long campaign from plus-size model Nyome Nicholas-Williams, who the platform was accused of censoring earlier this summer.

A spokesperson tells InStyle that as of Wednesday, October 28, Instagram and Facebook will update their policies "to help ensure all body types are treated fairly." The platforms will now allow "content where someone is simply hugging, cupping, or holding their breasts," — though photos where "people squeeze their breasts in a grabbing motion with bent finger" will still be banned.

The change comes after Nicholas-Williams and photographer Alexandra Cameron told The Guardian's Observer paper that pictures from their photoshoot were repeatedly deleted and taken down.

"Millions of pictures of very naked, skinny white women can be found on Instagram every day," Nicholas-Williams said at the time. "But a fat black woman celebrating her body is banned? It was shocking to me. I feel like I’m being silenced."

Nicholas-Williams's followers rallied to support her with the hashtag #IwanttoseeNyome, and an Instagram spokesperson told InStyle that upon investigation of her photos, "we realized it was an instance where our policy on breast squeezing wasn’t being correctly applied. Hearing her feedback helped us understand where this policy was falling short, and how we could refine it."

In a post announcing the news, Nicholas-Williams said she, Cameron, and campaign lead Gina Martin "strategized for three months to ensure a change would happen."

"We worked very hard on this and managed to get Instagram and @mosseri attention and there's still a lot of work to be done, as black plus-sized women continue to be censored in many ways; and white women STILL tried to hijack and make it their campaign," she wrote. "There is of course a huge racial imbalance in the algorithm that still exists as white bodies are promoted and don't have to worry about censorship of their posts but black bodies still have to justify presence on the platform, this has also been brought to Instagrams attention! But when we put our minds to it... we can achieve literally ANYTHING!!"

"I want to ensure that we are being respected and allowed to use spaces like Instagram, as many other creators do, without the worry of being censored and silenced," Nicholas-Williams said in a statement. "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 change. Gina, Alex, and I will be working closely with my community as well as Instagram to ensure this policy is protecting Black plus-sized women."

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