London: Popular photo sharing website Instagram has been inundated with sexual images, as users create pornography channels to share explicit material online.
Instagram’s small team has been overwhelmed by the images under pornography hahstags - a term that collects lewd images in one and gives users of the site easy access to photos featuring genetalia, women posing provocatively in bed, with their partners or masturbating in front of the camera.
According to the Huffington Post, the new craze - dubbed “instaporn” - has spawned tens of thousands of raunchy pictures that can be easily accessed by anyone using the site, the Daily Mail reported.
Users searching for the seedy images with terms such as “sextagram” will also be led to sex chat services, and complete strangers who are looking for sex online.
And while explicit images are banned by Instagram’s terms of service - that prohibits nude, partially nude or sexually suggestive photos - the team of just 15 full-time employees moderating the site are seemingly unable to police the five million photos that are uploaded on the site every day.
“Instagram has moved from a niche thing to something people have heard about, and that means it has a critical mass,” Terri Senft, a professor specialising in global media at New York University’s Department of Liberal Studies, said.
“Whenever you have a critical mass on the internet, the sex shows up,” she said.
Search terms such as “instaporn,” “handbra” or “sextragram” each of which brings up tens of thousands of sexual images.
The development will concern parents, as children as young as 13 are allowed to open an account, and there are few safeguards to prevent them from seeing such images.
It had been originally intended for innocent photos and users flocked to the site to exhibit portraits, pretty sunsets and culinary creations.
Tags such as #instasex and #instaboobs have more than 200,000 photos. While other more graphic tags also have tens of thousands of uploaded images.
And the explicit material is now overtaking ordinary but popular searchers. For example, there are 135,000 photos tagged “latte,” but 201,000 that are tagged “instasex.”
There are also thousands of comments on the pornographic photos from fellow users, who are urging one another to add more and more raunchy photos or inviting them on to other social networking sites to message privately.
Members are luring strangers for sex by asking them to join in “Kiksex” on the messaging app Kik, where users exchange their nude photos. One user, for example, wrote: “woke up horny as hell!!!!! Girls who wanna play post a comment and I’ll kik you.”
First Published: Saturday, September 01, 2012, 19:22