Instagram and Facebook may be revising their adult nudity policy

Instagram and Facebook may be revising their adult nudity policy

Meta has been advised to revise the policy so there is no discrimination on the basis of gender or sex when it comes to photos on the platforms.
31 Jan, 2023

After a decade-long war against rules that discriminate against bodies on the basis of gender, Instagram and Facebook might have to revise their rules and regulations and free the nipple. Meta’s oversight board has called for an overhaul on their Adult Nudity checks, terming them a binary view on gender.

The matter came into question when an American trans and non-binary couple uploaded a post to talk about trans healthcare and top surgery. They were topless in the photos with their nipples covered. Users flagged the post so much that it was censored by Facebook. After the couple appealed the decision, Meta eventually restored the posts.

The board, consisting of academics, politicians and journalists, recommended that Meta change its adult nudity and sexual activity community standard “so that it is governed by clear criteria that respect international human rights standards”, according to The Guardian.

“Here, the Board finds that Meta’s policies on adult nudity result in greater barriers to expression for women, trans and gender nonbinary people on its platforms,” the report states. “For example, they have a severe impact in contexts where women may traditionally go bare-chested and people who identify as LGBTQI+ can be disproportionately affected, as these cases show. Meta’s automated systems identified the content multiple times, despite it not violating Meta’s policies.”

Currently, male chests are permissible on social media platforms while female chests aren’t and this is judged by the AI through detection of the amount of fatty tissue on the breasts. Where do trans and non-binary people fall in all of this? That is exactly the board’s question.

“This policy is based on a binary view of gender and a distinction between male and female bodies,” they wrote. “Such an approach makes it unclear how the rules apply to intersex, non-binary and transgender people, and requires reviewers to make rapid and subjective assessments of sex and gender, which is not practical when moderating content at scale.”

The Free The Nipple campaign has been active since 2013 and celebrities including Rihanna, Miley Cyrus and Florence Pugh have had their say in the matter on multiple occasions.

Meta released a statement saying that it is open to a change and “welcomes the board’s decision in this case”. “We are constantly evolving our policies to help make our platforms safer for everyone,” the spokesperson added. “We know more can be done to support the LGBTQ+ community and that means working with experts and LGBTQ+ advocacy organisations on a range of issues and product improvements.”