Move over, artistic photos of food, cute babies, and dogs - Instagram's 80 million fans are now using the hugely popular phone app to share far more than that.
According to The Huffington Post and The Telegraph, the picture-sharing app is under fire for becoming the source of hundreds of lewd photos taken by its users, in a phenomenon crudely christened "Instaporn".
Beloved for its nostalgic tinting and flattering framing, Instagram has, unwittingly or no, become the sharing platform for what The Inquisitr calls "tens of thousands of naughty photos .. forever capturing intimate moments between lovers", its soft-glow filters doing "little to minimize the graphic nature of the amateur porn snapshots".
These X-rated photos would be largely overlooked if shared between private users of the smartphone app, but most keep their accounts private and their photos accessible through a quick search of hardly discreet tags like #instasex, #instaboobs, and #sextagram.
A quick check by Yahoo! Singapore of those tags turned up thousands of photos of " nude photos and in some cases, snaps bordering on full-blown porn. The euphemistic tag #handbra turned up over half a million close-up photos of young women's breasts, barely concealed by their hands.
Even more alarmingly, The Telegraph reports that Instagram users are using the app to play "online sex games", exchanging photos and teasing each other on the Web, calling it "just the shallow, soft core end of the pool."
"Instaporn" members are also using the app to find other like-minded users, inviting them to join them for "KikSex" on messaging app Kik, where the action is taken one step further.
"Woke up horny as h*ll!" The Huffington Post quotes one "Instaporn" user as posting, "Girls who wanna play post a comment and I'll kik you .. don't be shy. We can trade pics and have some naughty talk."
It is no surprise then, that the "Instaporn" phenomenon has provoked large-scale backlash from parents of the app's younger users.
American parent Michael Sheehan, also known as tech blogger "High Tech Dad" wrote about finding out that his young daughter was active on both Instagram and Kik, what he felt was a fatal combination.
"Someone on Instagram contacted one of my daughter's friends to connect on Kik. And once they were over on Kik messenger and chatting, this "stranger" asked to see this child's privates.. just pause and think about that for a minute. From innocently posting photos to being solicited by a pedophile," he blogged.
"That is shocking. I was scared. I was scared for my kids. And I was scared for other families who don't take an active role in protecting their children from the dangers online."
Another American dad checked his daughter's phone and found Kik messenger installed on it as well as chat histories which "shocked him out of his slumber."
"I found it filled with contacts that we're not her regular group of friends. Maybe 80% unknowns and 20% known ..one chat in particular was a full blown sexting session with a fellow who had an ID picture of a puppy, no age, no identity," posted the horrified father who gave his name as "Chris".
Not helping the situation are celebrities like Kim Kardashian and rebellious pop star Rihanna, whose racy Instagram snaps get tens of thousands of "likes" on the app from followers of all ages - including impressionable teens eager for Internet popularity.Kim Kardashian's racy Instagram snaps are fueling the Instaporn movement (Screengrab)
According to The Telegraph, there are no rules preventing users as young as 13 from setting up an Instagram account, and even if the app's administrators did put in a requirement for users to be at least 18, it would be easy to sidestep that by simply switching their birth dates.
With just 15-full time employees and over five million photos uploaded every day, Instagram is woefully under-equipped to police its terms of service, which ban "nude, partially nude, or sexually suggestive photos."
An Instagram spokesperson responded to the findings by saying: "We rely heavily on users to flag inappropriate content and we do our best to remove any media that we determine to be inappropriate."