Facebook and Instagram, after a decade of bans, will review policies that condemn images of bare breasts, amid allegations that the rules restrict the free expression of women and transgender people.
Meta’s Oversight Board, a group of academics that reviews its moderation decisions, ruled that the company should reinstate two posts it found no obscenity.
The supervisory board’s decision follows a controversy that had its epicenter on Facebook. The social network has censored two posts from an account managed by an American couple transgender and non-binary.
The photo showed the couple posing topless but with their nipples covered, with captions describing trans healthcare and fundraising for cosmetic surgery.
Some users flagged this post, which was reviewed and removed by an AI system. After the pair appealed the decision, Meta determined restore the photo.
The council ruled that “the policy is based on a gender binary and a distinction between male and female bodies,” making the rules against nipple display “unclear” when dealing with intersex, non-binary, and transgender users.
In this sense, he recommended that Meta “define clear, objective and rights-respecting criteria” when it comes to moderating nudity “so that all people are treated in accordance with international human rights standards”.
Although Meta is needed to reset blocked posts, it is not required follow all the recommendations of the supervisory body and can choose to ignore them.
“We welcome the board’s decision in this case. Prior to the decision we had reinstated this content, acknowledging that it should not have been removed. We are constantly evaluating our policies to help make our platforms safer for everyone,” a spokesperson said.
no nudity in sight
Meta’s adult nudity policy prevents the display of female nipples except in a number of specific cases. Among them are breastfeeding women or people who have photos of a gender reaffirmation operation.
The lawsuit comes a decade after feminist activists coined the slogan Free The Nipple and called for equal standards when it comes to revealing male and female breasts.
Protests against the policy included more than 100 naked protesters gathering outside Facebook’s New York headquarters in 2019, and American artist Micol Hebron created nipple stickers of men women can wear to cover yours in the pictures.
“It seems frivolous to many people to talk about nipples, but if you think about the ways governments around the world try to control and suppress female identity bodies, trans bodies, or non-binary bodies, it isn’t,” Hebron noted.
Linda Price is a tech expert at News Rebeat. With a deep understanding of the latest developments in the world of technology and a passion for innovation, Linda provides insightful and informative coverage of the cutting-edge advancements shaping our world.