How to Upload Porn to Instagram

Users are uploading stolen porn videos to Instagram, bypassing the platform’s draconian anti-sex policies with one simple trick, while legitimate adult content creators are often banned for no reason. 404 Media has seen several explicit videos, lifted from other adult content creators, which have been posted to Instagram months ago and have racked up millions of views. All of these videos use the same method to bypass Instagram’s moderation.

As any number of sex workers and sex educators could tell you, Instagram is one of the most hostile platforms to sexual content on the internet. Instagram will often ban content with sexual themes, sometimes with no clear explanation, even if it doesn’t include explicit images, just because it includes sexual themes. Many adult content creators have complained about this over the years after their posts were deleted and accounts banned.

However, it appears that all of Instagram’s moderation against sexual content can be bypassed by simply inserting a three minute countdown clock, after which a porn video starts playing uninterrupted. One video, which has been live on Instagram since September 20, 2023, includes a three minute countdown before playing a close up video of a man getting a handjob. At the time of writing, the video had 2.1 million views and dozens of comments, most of which were written in Hindi.

“The Instagram guidelines seem to penalize some creators while allowing others to get away with murder,” Rae Richmond, an adult content creator who promotes her work on Instagram, told me in an email. “I had several thong pictures flagged – which I posted because you can see those ALL OVER Instagram.”

“Over the course of 2023, I started posting more educational content about sexual health & wellness, and had several posts flagged as well as fully removed,” Sydney Screams, an adult content creator who was banned from Instagram in December told me in an email. “I used the censored variations of words, but still had posts flagged and/or removed. If I showed the arbitrary ‘wrong’ amount of cleavage or booty, my posts would be flagged and/or removed. Whenever posts were flagged, I’d get a message on Instagram telling me that my posts couldn’t be shown to anyone except my followers, even though I’ve seen far more revealing content on the app.”

Instagram did not respond to a request for comment.

Instagram is such an integral part of the marketing strategy for many, many sex workers, and yet we are pushed off the platform because of our chosen line of work.

The video was sent to me by a 404 Media reader after I published a story about a community of users on YouTube who find videos of nudity on the platform and uncover methods for bypassing YouTube’s moderation against sexual content.

The video was posted by an account called adultz_vibez.6, which follows nine other similarly named accounts (adult_vibez.3, adult_vibez_3, etc), who all follow the same accounts and post different pornographic videos with the same countdown method. Many of the pornographic videos have hundreds of thousands of views, and include dozens of comments in Hindi. The pornographic videos also appear to be of Indian people and a watermark on the videos indicates that they were originally posted to the porn tube site xHamster. I saw at least one video that was stolen from a Colombian adult content creator who posts her videos to xHamster as well.

All the porn videos I saw on Instagram use the countdown clock method, and feature a “disclaimer” in broken English clarifying that the account has no rights to the videos, but considers posting them “fair use.”

As I found was common with pornographic videos posted to YouTube, the accounts that post porn to Instagram include comments and descriptions that try to frame the videos as educational.

“breastfeeding is natural and beautiful, and we understand that it’s important for mothers,” an account called called adultz_vibes.1 said in a post with a three minute countdown which, when ended, featured a video of a woman in a sari washing the floor and then giving a man a handjob.

“Sex educational class volume 1. HIV prevention and breastcancer surgery test, gynecological examination,” adultz.vibes5 writes in a comment alongside a video of a couple having sex on a washing machine.

The accounts I contacted did not respond to a request for comment, but they appear to funnel their thousands of followers through a convoluted web of links that eventually converts those eyeballs to money via ads and referrals. For example, an Instagram story for the account adult_vibe.3 includes a link to join a Telegram group called “N@ughty Americans.” That group, which has over 8,000 subscribers, exclusively shares links to porn videos produced by well known studios in the United States, featuring some of the biggest names in the adult industry. Those videos are all hosted on the cloud storage service TeraBox, which includes an ad unit next to the porn video preview as well as a pre-roll ad. More importantly, the video prompts users to download the video in order to view the full version, which requires downloading the Terabox client. Terabox has a referral program where referrers “can earn up to $0.13 for every new user who signs up for TeraBox through the file link you share,” Terabox’s site says.

The Instagram bio for adult_vibez.3 also says “ALL TYPE PROMOTIONS AVAILABLE [ CONFIRM BEFORE TAKING THE SERVICE ],” but the account does not promote any products or links except for the Telegram group. The account also did not respond to a question about what type of promotions are available.

Leveraging Instagram accounts who gain a following for managing to post nudity to the platform is not unique, however. For example, momsbreastfeed, an account with 211,000 followers which reposts other women’s breastfeeding content says “Paid Promotion Available 🙌” in its bio, where it also says that people should contact the account to ask for credit or removal of content. At the moment, it is sharing a link.space link in its bio, which in turn links out to a “strictly 18+” hot girls in your area-type “hookups” site.

“It feels unfair to see others posting content on Instagram that is not only against their TOS, but also is far more explicit than anything I’ve ever posted,” Screams said. “I’ve tried reporting accounts that were posting actual porn, only to receive notification that the accounts or posts weren’t violating the TOS. Instagram is such an integral part of the marketing strategy for many, many sex workers, and yet we are pushed off the platform because of our chosen line of work. It’s infuriating to know there is actual porn being posted on the app and profited off of, yet sex workers have to censor ourselves down to the words we choose to use. It’s discriminatory and a double standard, especially since so many sex workers do stick to the TOS and still face deplatforming.”

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