Meta’s independent oversight board has reportedly decided to lift its strict rule that had banned photos of bare breasts to be posted on Instagram and Facebook, following a decade-long “free the nipple” campaign.
The oversight board, which is composed of academics, politicians and journalists, on January 17 advised the tech firm to change its adult nudity and sexual activity community standard “so that it is governed by clear criteria that respect international human rights standards”, reports the Guardian.
The recommendations of the board are said to be binding and it is expected that Meta will most likely follow them.
In its recommendation, the board said that “the [old] policy is based on a binary view of gender and a distinction between male and female bodies,” which makes rules about baring nipples “unclear” for those who do not identify as women.
It argued that the policy hindered inclusivity on the platforms, especially for women, intersex, non-binary and transgender people.
The move comes after the board overturned Meta’s decision to strike out two Instagram posts featuring transgender and non-binary people with bare chests.
Meta’s strict nudity policy has been the subject of an intense debate over its strict guidelines in cutting the exposure of women’s nipples. This rule had often come in the way of breastfeeding women who have had their content censured.
The movement, which began in 2000 in an attempt to de-sexualise the image of breasts, went mainstream in 2012 after Facebook took down clips from the actor/director Lina Esco’s documentary Free the Nipple.
The move was heavily criticised, with protests breaking out at Facebook headquarters at the time demanding the right for women to bare their breasts on social media if they choose to do so.
They have been contending that the platforms often allow hate speech to go uncensored, while female nipples are barred.
CEO Mark Zuckerburg tried to justify this in 2018 saying, “It’s easier to build an AI system to detect a nipple than what is hate speech.”