Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, may soon “free the nipple.” More than a decade after nursing mothers first held a “nursing day” at Facebook headquarters to protest a ban on breast images, Meta’s supervisory board has called for a review of the company’s rules banning images of topless women, reports The Guardian.
In a Jan. 17 ruling, the watchdog — a group of academics, politicians and journalists who advise the company on content moderation policies — recommended that Meta change its standards for depictions of nudity and adult sexual activity “so that it is governed by clear criteria that respect international human rights standards”.
The board’s decision came after Facebook censored two posts from the account of an American couple who are transgender and non-binary. The posts showed the couple posing topless but with their nipples covered, with captions describing transgender health care and raising funds for upper breast surgery.
The posts were flagged by users, then reviewed and removed by an artificial intelligence system. After the couple appealed the decision, Meta eventually reinstated the posts.
The commission found that “the policy is based on a binary view of gender and a distinction between male and female bodies,” making rules against exposing nipples “vague” when it comes to intersex, non-binary and transgender users. It recommended that Meta “define clear, objective, rights-respecting criteria” when it comes to moderating nudity “so that all people are treated in a manner consistent with international human rights standards”.