Meta told to end Facebook and Instagram ban on bare breasts

Facebook has been told to update its rules around adult nudity (Solen Feyissa / Unsplash)
Facebook has been told to update its rules around adult nudity (Solen Feyissa / Unsplash)

Meta’s Oversight Board has told the social media company to update its rules surrounding images of naked breasts.

The rules around images of breasts on Facebook and Instagram should be updated to follow a “clear criteria that respect international human rights standards,” the Oversight Board said.

The board’s decision comes after an incident where Facebook censored two posts by a transgender and non-binary couple.

The couple posted images of their bare chests (with their nipples covered) in a post in which the couple said they were fundraising for gender-affirming top-surgery.

The board said that Facebook removed the posts “seemingly because they contain breasts and a link to a fundraising page”.

After an appeal to the board from Facebook users, Facebook accepted that it had removed the posts in error and subsequently restored them.

Meta’s rules are “based on a binary view of gender and a distinction between male and female bodies”.

The Oversight Board found that this policy makes it unclear how Meta’s rules apply to intersex, non-binary, and transgender people.

It also found that Meta’s policies on adult nudity “result in greater barriers to expression for women, trans, and gender non-binary people on its platforms”.

As a result, Meta has been told that it needs to define clear criteria that ensures “all users are treated in a manner consistent with human rights standards”.

The board has also recommended that Meta provides more information on the criteria that leads to content being removed and that it revises its guidance for moderators.

In a statement, Meta said: “We are constantly evaluating our policies to help make our platforms safer for everyone.

“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.”