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With just 15 full-time employees and over five million photos uploaded every day, Instagram depends on its users to report activity that violates the service’s policies.“We rely heavily on users to flag inappropriate content and we do our best to remove any media that we determine to be inappropriate,” an Instagram spokesperson said in an e-mail.Once they were chatting, the individual “asked to see this child’s privates,” Sheehan wrote.Once its acquisition of Instagram is complete, Facebook, with its thousands of engineers and billions of dollars, will no doubt help the photo-sharing service curb the pornographic postings.In addition to potential reputational repercussions, any “nudity” or “mature content” could jeopardize Instagram’s access to Apple’s App Store, which has strict modesty standards.Though the sexual side of a social media site can be a turnoff for some users, companies’ crackdown on the photos can spark -- and has sparked -- its own backlash.The attributes that helped propel Instagram to social media stardom are the very same ones that make it so appealing to purveyors of soft-core pornography and people searching for sex-chat partners.The photo-sharing app puts photos front and center, allows for a degree of anonymity, and encourages public posts that help like-minded strangers find each other.
But that's not to say you need to be picture perfect.
Facebook has repeatedly come under fire from users who allege its overly zealous censors inappropriately remove images of women breast-feeding, a nude statue, and a topless plastic doll.
Tibbals noted that Facebook pulled down a page she created about her academic research because of its references to adult content.
Parents, in particular, could have cause for concern: Users as young as 13 years old can create Instagram accounts, and an Instagram username is all that is necessary to tap into the app’s “sextagram” underbelly.
Michael Sheehan, author of the High Tech Dad blog, recounted how a friend of his elementary school-aged daughter was contacted by an Instagram user who asked her to chat with her on Kik.