Instagram says blame Apple, not them, for its strict censorship policy that prohibits pictures of female nipples.

The photo sharing app has repeatedly come under fire for its double standards for permitting male nipples and not females’, sparking the hashtag movement #FreeTheNipple.

Instagram CEO said Wednesday that the app’s classification within the Apple App Store is the reason it deletes pictures of topless woman, most notably Chelsea Handler and supermodel Chrissy Teigen.

On iTunes, Instagram is rated for 12+, meaning nude photography is prohibited. If the Facebook-owned app started allowing female nipples, which Apple finds so unseemly, it would have to be bumped up to the 17+ category, which would then significantly limit the number of money-spending teens that could download it.

Systrom said it’s “committed to artistic freedom,” according to Business Insider, but “in order to scale effectively there are [some] tough calls.” Meaning, freeing the (female) nipple is bad for its ever-ballooning bottom line.

The Daily Dot points out that Systrom’s explanation is “curious” since Twitter, which includes lots of explicit material if searched for, is ranked for 4+ year olds and above. But with Instagram turning on the money jets, something that Twitter has failed to do, playing safe is the best route to go if it wants to remain advertiser-friendly.

Image by Matt Fraher

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