Sharing Photos Safely
We worked with ConnectSafely.org on the following answer. For more information and advice please visit www.connectsafely.org.
Sharing nude or sexual photos/videos is a violation of Instagram’s Community Guidelines, so the simplest answer you can give someone is, “No. It’s not allowed on Instagram.” But beyond Instagram, it’s important to think about how it would impact you if nude or sexual photos/videos of yourself got out of your control. This can happen the instant someone shares a photo or video. Sometimes people make mistakes, play stupid jokes, or act in anger and share things they shouldn’t.
If you’re under the age of 18, it’s especially important for you to know that sharing nude or sexually explicit images of minors—on the web, on mobile phones, by mail or any other way—is illegal in most countries and could have serious legal and life-changing consequences for both the creator of the images and anyone who requests them.
The safest thing you can do is never share nude photos/videos—or anything else you wouldn’t want other people seeing—to anyone, even if you feel very close to the person asking for them. If someone you care about asks you to share a nude photo/video or leave Instagram for a private web chat and you don’t want to, tell the person that it makes you feel uncomfortable. If this person really cares about you, he or she will understand. If anyone tries to threaten or intimidate you into sharing photos/video, just refuse. If it continues, tell someone you trust or contact the police.
Also remember that Instagram is a place to share your life with your followers through photos and video. When you allow someone to follow you, they may see personal information you've shared on Instagram (like your personal website URL or who follows you). The best way to stay safe is to only accept followers that you know well outside of Instagram.
We worked with ConnectSafely.org on the following answer. To learn more, please visit http://www.connectsafely.org/.
If someone is threatening to share things you intended to be private and asking you to send them money or anything else, you have options:
- Contact local law enforcement and report this to them.
- Block this person. Depending on your privacy settings, people on Instagram can see a list of your followers and who you follow. Once you block someone, they no longer have access to your profile.
The safest thing you can do is never share something you wouldn’t want other people seeing, even if you feel like you trust the person asking you to share.
If you're under 18
If you're under 18, we recommend talking with a parent or other adult you trust to help you think through what to do. We offer some tips for parents on safety and security on Instagram. Here are other resources for you to consider:
- Contact a crisis hotline or chat service. These can be found all over the US and in many other countries. This is a good option if you want to remain anonymous while deciding what to do. Crisis lines can also often refer you to a victim advocate or other legal adviser near you. In the US, you can search for one by zip code at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/our-network/ or visit www.crisischat.org/.
- Talk with a victim advocate or social worker in your town or city. In the US, there are victim advocates in county offices, police stations, domestic violence prevention centers, rape crisis centers, sheriff's offices and offices of state attorneys general. Victim advocates can help you gather evidence, figure out how to keep you safe and get a civil protection or anti-stalking order against the person threatening you. If you're in the US, call the National Organization for Victim Assistance at 1-800-TRY-NOVA/800-879-6682 or go to www.trynova.org.
- Contact a legal aid society or organization near you for free advice.
- Ask a lawyer or other counselor for advice.
- Talk to a school counselor or administrator.