Facebook, Instagram to Lift Ban on Bare Breasts – but Only for Transgender and ‘Non-Binary’
Facebook and Instagram are set to lift their ban on photos of bare breasts — but only for transgender and “non-binary” people so far.
The oversight board for Facebook (now known as Meta) issued a lengthy ruling on Wednesday overturning a recent decision to remove two Instagram posts depicting a gender non-conforming couple. The posts depict the couple — one of whom is transgender and the other non-binary — posing topless with their nipples covered.
The Facebook “Supreme Court” said removing the posts was “not in line with Meta’s Community Standards, values or human rights responsibilities,” adding that Facebook has since restored the photos.
A spokesperson for Facebook told the New York Post: “We welcome the board’s decision in this case.”
The case prompted an in-depth review of Meta’s convoluted policies regarding the display of bare breasts and female nipples. The review was conducted by the oversight board, an external group comprised of primarily leftist academics, journalists, and politicians.
In its ruling on Wednesday, the board remained vague regarding the bare breasts of biological women — whom it referred to as “cisgender women.” The group appeared to suggest that maintaining different rules for biological and trans women could result in confusion.
“The same image of female-presenting nipples would be prohibited if posted by a cisgender woman, but permitted if posted by an individual self-identifying as non-binary,” it said.
With some exceptions, Facebook and Instagram still ban the posting of bare breasts of biological women.
Facebook currently relies on “human reviewers” tasked with “quickly assess[ing] both a user’s sex, as this policy applies to ‘female nipples,’ and their gender identity,” the board said.
But in a world of multiplying gender identities, such a procedure is proving to be unfeasible.
“This policy is based on a binary view of gender and a distinction between male and female bodies. 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 board said.