Calls to ‘free the nipple’ on Facebook and Instagram as bare breast ban may be lifted

A close up image of phone apps including Facebook and Instagram as calls to free the nipple happen.. (Getty Images)
Facebook and instagram's parent company has been told to 'free the nipple' to make the platforms' policy on breasts more inclusive. (Getty Images)

A board that advises the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, Meta, has recommended that the social media giants end their ban on images of bare breasts being posted to the platform.

Meta’s Oversight Board is made up of academics, journalists and politicians who advise the company on its policies around content moderation, and have said that Meta’s policies could be more inclusive.

The board has called for a change to Meta's current policy that prohibits users from posting images of bare breasts to its platform. The #FreeTheNipple movement has campaigned for over a decade for this policy to be reversed.

Read more: Emily Clarkson campaigns to ‘free the nipple’ in belated IWD campaign

The advisors recommended changing the rules around nudity and sexual activity on the platform “so that it is governed by clear criteria that respect international human rights standards”.

The decision came after Facebook censored two posts from an account on its platform from an American couple who are both transgender and non-binary.

In the posts, the couple were posing topless, but with their nipples covered, in a bid to raise money for top surgery.

Two topless women have their backs to the camera at free the nipple protest. (Reuters)
Free the nipple protestors in Germany in 2021. (Reuters)

The posts were flagged by users and subsequently removed by the company’s AI system, but the posts were restored after the couple appealed the decision with Meta.

According to the Oversight Board, the current policy on bare breasts on Instagram and Facebook “is based on a binary view of gender and a distinction between male and female bodies”.

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It adds that the rules are “unclear” when it comes to transgender, non-binary and intersex users.

The board recommended that Meta “define clear, objective, rights-respecting criteria so that all people are treated in a manner consistent with international human rights standards”.

Read more: Rita Ora, Lily James and Anya Taylor-Joy ensure the naked dress has a place in 2023

“We are constantly evolving our policies to help make our platforms safer for everyone,” a representative for Meta said, adding that it “welcomes” the board’s decision.

“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.”

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