Instagram users have always been quite crafty and at times artistic when it comes to finding loopholes in Instagram's terms of service, and through the company's inconsistent and downright strange censoring of images posted to its platform.
It is an "all or nothing" relationship. Your posts either manage to fly under the radar, or they are removed and banished from the service. However, that's all set to change - well, kind of.
Instagram is preparing to release a new feature that will blur out photographs and videos that contain sensitive material. If enough users complain and report your post, Instagram's moderation police will review your content and evaluate if it is offensive. If your post is deemed possibly offensive, your content will be blurred out with a warning adorned over-top that states: “This photo contains sensitive content which some people may find offensive or disturbing".
But what content is deemed "sensitive?"
According to a correspondence between The Verge and Instagram, the company will at first focus on reviewing material that depicts violence and cruelty. Examples include:
"Animal rights groups that share content to expose animal testing conditions or animal abuse, or content that raises awareness of humanitarian crises around the world (famine, impact of war on local communities)”
Sensitive material, according to Instagram, are posts that have been deemed offensive but do not technically violate Instagram's terms of service guidelines. Instagram does not allow full nudity, but it does allow users to post near-naked photographs.
If your images have been blurred out, users can simply tap on the screen to unlock the full post. Although, one could argue the rationale for this is simple, to protect minors and adults from accidently or unknowingly viewing offensive material. Instagram has stated the sensitive content warning will start showing up to users immediately.