Nude models gather in NYC to protest Facebook and Instagram's female nipple ban

An artist commissioned a nude protest in New York City on Sunday which sought to highlight Instagram and Facebook's ban on photos showing female nipples.

Instagram and Facebook allow photos of male nipples on their sites, but not female. In response, artist Spencer Tunick organized a group of male and female models posing naked holding large photos of nipples near the Astor Place subway station in Manhattan.

People pose nude for a photo shoot by artist Spencer Tunick in front of Facebook's New York headquarters in Manhattan Sunday. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

People pose nude for a photo shoot by artist Spencer Tunick in front of Facebook's New York headquarters in Manhattan Sunday. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

The photos of nipples being held by Tunick's models were donated shots from a number of high-profile celebrities, including Bravo’s Andy Cohen, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and Tunick himself, the Daily Mail reports.

Images from the event on Sunday morning show models lying down while holding photos of nipples in the air and on their groins, and facing with their backs to the camera while showing off the nipple photos.

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Instagram and Facebook allow photos of male nipples on their sites, but not female.

Instagram and Facebook allow photos of male nipples on their sites, but not female. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

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Onlookers can be seen gathering around the Astor Place cube and filming the protest.

Tunick organized the photo shoot in collaboration with the National Coalition Against Censorship, who have pioneered the hashtag #WeTheNipple.

'The nudity ban prevents many artists from sharing their work online. It particularly harms artists whose work focuses on their own bodies, including queer and gender-nonconforming artists, and the bodies of those in their communities,' their website says.

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Tunick has a history of orchestrating en mass nude art -- he has previously organized a photo with 6,000 nude people in Colombia.