How Facebook and Instagram played a role in knocking nude photos out of Playboy

The moralists couldn’t do it, the radical feminists couldn’t do it.

But inadvertently perhaps, Facebook and Instagram showed Playboy that it could live without nude photos of women.

This week, Playboy magazine announced it would no longer publish nude photos of women in its U.S. print edition, which launched in 1953.

The decision was the logical extension of one made last year to remove nude photos from Playboy’s online site.

That allowed the content to appear via Facebook, Instagram and Apple’s App Store, which all restrict sexually explicit imagery on their platforms. Plus, with the new no-nudes content, Playboy was deemed “safe for work.”

Playboy’s brand quickly became more mainstream. Web traffic jumped to 16 million, up from 4 million unique monthly users, the New York Times reported.

And younger readers flocked to the site — the average age is just over 30, down from 47.

If Facebook’s PG-13 rules helped tip Playboy’s decision to drop nude photos online, why get rid of naked photos for the print magazine? Here’s what Playboy officials said on its site:

The Bunny transcends nudity. Tens of millions of readers come to our non-nude website and app every month for, yes, photos of beautiful women, but also for articles and videos from our humor, sex and culture, style, nightlife, entertainment and video game sections.

Wired says the company makes more of its money from licensing its logo. Vox says Playboy has “is betting that that demand will grow even more if Playboy becomes less associated with explicit pornography in the minds of the public.”

The decision to drop nudity from the magazine is best seen in this light. The goal isn’t so much to make the magazine itself more successful — though presumably its owners would like to do that — but to make the magazine a more effective sales tool for the Playboy brand more generally.

So we may be seeing more of the Playboy bunny ears, something that the critics of Playboy may not celebrate.

But there won’t be photos of naked women.

Photo: November 2015 issues of Playboy magazine are seen on the shelf of a bookstore in Bethesda, Maryland on October 13, 2015. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

 

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  • Displayed

    It’s Playboy! Never been about important issues and if they really wanted to move smart, they would have changed the name to Highlights. LOL

  • Michael Irwin

    Playboy’s beautiful portrayal of the female nude is largely responsible for the freedoms that so many women have today. They, the tastefully nude models, helped remove that false sense of shame that had been forced upon this society over women’s bodies. Women, outside AND in, are the most beautiful part of this world! To deny this FACT is the first step to sending women, and their beautiful special natures, back into the past.
    Shame on you, Playboy! To sell your souls to the prudes…better to fold completely while fighting for the beauty that has been with us for a lifetime.
    Mark my words: No good will come of this.
    I’m canceling my subscription today.

  • David Holland

    Did there website go from 4 million to 16 million paying customers ? I doubt it. I can have millions of customers if I give away my product for free. No one has really figure out how to give away product and make money doing it. See the how well the online newspapers did with this approach. I am a playboy subscriber. I will not be renewing when they go nude free. I understand there is porn all over the internet. I believe you get what you pay for most of the time

 
 
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