Naked Instagram photos cause headaches for CEO

The co-founder of Instagram has defended the social networking app in the face of fierce criticism over its rules on nudity.

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom told BBC Newsbeat that the company's stance on photos depicting the naked human body are "fair," since its regulations centre around making Instagram "the safest possible place for teens and adults."

The statement comes in the wake of an online backlash against Instagram's decision to remove photos of topless women. Scout Willis, the daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, had posted a sweatshirt she designed that depicted two topless women, but the social media bosses took down the image for violating its terms of use policy.

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Instagram's terms of use state: "You may not post violent, nude, partially nude... pornographic or sexually suggestive photos," but Willis argues in this case it was unnecessary topless censorship. In protest she launched an online campaign with the hashtag #FreeTheNipple, which was swiftly picked up by other supporters including R&B superstar Rihanna.

Systrom, however, is adamant that the photo violated Instagram rules. His statement focussed more on the celebrity status of the campaign supporters, saying "Our goal is really to make sure that Instagram, whether you're a celebrity or not, is a safe place and that the content that gets posted is something that's appropriate for teens and also for adults."

He added "We need to make certain rules to make sure that everyone can use it."

Instagram has an overwhelmingly youthful audience. Use of image-based apps such as Snapchat and YouTube is soaring among young people as the new generation abandons the likes of Twitter and Facebook - popular amongst its parents - for a more visual form of sharing.

As such, Instagram's rapid growth has come hand-in-hand with questions over the safety and security of its business. The company has previously blocked certain search terms associated with the suspected sale of illegal drugs on its app.