Instagram banned my nude cycling photo

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - The image that Instagram barred from the This Is My Bike account

Barry Sandland – The barred image as seen in the square, Instagram format. Whether it was the tattooed man in front or the retouched man in the mid-ground is unclear. Both have been edited for standards.

If you want to see the banned image, it is one my website – but so is the complete, unedited photo, as well as a more explicit version, so fair warning applies.

Barry Sandland/TIMB - Barred from Instagram, links to complete image

Go to the blog page to see the image – both as Instagram viewed and complete image.

I opened my Instagram account this morning to see one of my images had been removed overnight as it failed to meet Instagram’s community standards. The image had been carefully cropped and retouched to, in my opinion, meet  the required standards, so I was surprised to see  it had been removed.

I am also entertained that an account that features cyclists and their bikes has managed to offend. Of course it can be done, but I never started this account expecting this issue. Nor was it my intent to push the boundaries when I posted the image. I was only enjoying a legal, naked bike ride, and celebrating some of the participants.

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - The complete image, before editing from the World Naked Bike Rider in Brussels, Belgium

Barry Sandland – The barred image as seen in the square, Instagram format. Whether it was the tattooed man in front or the retouched man in the mid-ground is unclear. Both have been edited for standards.

The oddity is, Instagram is owned by Facebook and users might expect similar standards to apply. But the image that was banned by Instagram is still on display with the Facebook account. Actually, the Facebook image is a little more revealing. I had cropped the Instagram image a little more completely but left the penis indication in the Facebook post. Facebook is more revealing – but has not drawn the attention of the Facebook guardians. .

Of course, now that I mention this, I might find Facebook barring the image, as well.

In case there might be confusion about whether the foreground person and his tattoos is the focus, the standing male in the mid-field of the image has been retouched. The genitalia was blurred and completely undefinable on both Instagram and Facebook. You would only know there was supposed to be a penis since the man standing there was naked. Look closely, and he has been eunuch-ed, courtesy of photo editing software.

Either way, both males were presented as genitalia-free.

I had no issue on cropping and retouching the image. Both Instagram and Facebook are community pages and not everybody wants to see complete nudity. And I have a blog page, so I have an option to display the unedited version.

But the ban seems less to do with the near-visible genitalia as it is the overall presentation of a male with some entertaining, if unorthodox, tattooing and body art. … Neither Instagram nor Facebook were provided the entire image, complete with genital piercings.

In Instagram only tells you that your image has broken the rules. Not what you have done, specifically.

You also do not get much real notification. I had a screen notification when I opened my iPhone. But it was more a Snapchat presentation, as it disappeared as soon as I clicked away. There is no accompanying e-mail, no explanation, and you cannot see the notification again. In the future, I will know enough to take a screenshot immediately.

When you break community rules, you start to see how vague and capricious those community standards are. Nudity is forbidden. Well, any closer indication of genitalia or female nipples is barred. Community standards become the standards of a very limited population, and excludes an expanse of what many in my community would view as tolerable imagery.

We have come a long way from “one foot on the floor” morality standards. Even worldwide, there has to be some acceptance of nudity.

I do not want to see porn sites and the like in the public arena. Instagram has a private function and that should accomodate any more detailed requirements. But a naked, non-erect man, a woman topless on the beach, in the park, riding her bike, should not still meet standards of community offence. Men can appear topless, women cannot. That meets the hilarious description that a topless woman is too great a temptation for men, and women should learn to be less inviting, less provocative. I mean, does this sound familiar?

Finally, I want to be clear that I did not take these images for any  sense of provocation. These people were enjoying their annual bike ride and I went there to enjoy another aspect of cycling and cyclists. These people were accepting and welcoming. I asked permission for the photos. Some refused. Others did not. I accepted their choices. I edited the images before posting to social media accounts, retouching exposed genitalia until hidden, or cropping the image to what I thought were standards. The participating riders were comfortable and communicative about their involvement in the ride and I hope I respected that in my efforts.

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Tattoos and piercings on the World Naked Bike Ride in Brussels, Belgium

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – A little more explicit, but simply not the image posted to my social media accounts.

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