Facebook and Instagram will allow transgender and non-binary users to flash their bare breasts — but women who were born female and who are eager to “free the nipple” are out of luck, according to Meta’s advisory board.
Meta’s Oversight Board — an independent body of experts which Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has called the company’s “Supreme Court” for content moderation and censorship policies — ordered Facebook and Instagram to lift a ban on images of topless women for anyone who identifies as transgender or non-binary, meaning they view themselves as neither male or female.
“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,” the board noted in its decision.
A “cisgender” person is anyone who identifies as the sex or gender that they were assigned at birth.
The board cited a recent decision to overturn a ban on two Instagram posts by a couple that describes themselves as transgender and non-binary that posed topless but covered their nipples — only to have the post flagged by other users.
Meta banned the image, but the couple won their appeal and the photo was restored online.
Meta will rely on “human reviewers” who will be tasked with “quickly assess[ing] both a user’s sex, as this policy applies to ‘female nipples,’ and their gender identity,” the board said.
The proposed change is in response to complaints that the old policy discriminated against gender-fluid users.
The board added that there will be “additional nipple-related exceptions based on contexts of protest, birth giving, after birth, and breastfeeding which it did not examine here, but also must be assessed.”
A spokesperson for Meta told The Post: “We welcome the board’s decision in this case.”
“We had reinstated this content prior to the decision, recognizing that it should not have been taken down,” the spokesperson said of the post by the American couple.
“We are constantly evaluating our policies to help make our platforms safer for everyone.”
The rep added: “We know more can be done to support the LGBTQ+ community, and that means working with experts and LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations on a range of issues and product improvements.”
Facebook has in years past been accused of oversexualizing breasts.
In 2013, the social media site took down clips from a documentary called “Free the Nipple” about the movement to allow for female toplessness in public.
The film gained a following and was endorsed by celebrities including Miley Cyrus, Rumer Willis, Cara Delevingne, and Nico Tortorella.
Michel R. Huff, a Los Angeles-based attorney who was formerly a lesbian and who has transitioned to being a man, argues that Meta’s new policy poses a violation of Equal Protection Clause under the Fourteenth Amendment.
“Cis women’s breasts have been sexualized. However, breasts are not sex objects. They are to feed children, the original purpose for breasts,” Huff told The Post. “When balancing the interests of anyone’s equal rights against another’s potential lascivious outbursts, our individual rights and liberties must trump, or we face a slippery slope to diminishing other legal protections.”
The Post has sought additional comment from the Oversight Board.