Oversight Board tells Meta to make its gender nudity policy more inclusive

Meta’s Oversight Board

Meta’s Oversight Board has called for inclusivity following the platform’s decisions to remove two Instagram posts showing transgender and non-binary people with their bare chests.

Meta’s Oversight Board has overturned the platform’s original decisions to remove two Instagram posts depicting transgender and non-binary people with bare chests, recommending an inclusive approach. 

The Board has ruled that the platform’s approach to gender nudity needs to move past a binary view and should fit intersex, non-binary and transgender people as well. 

The move comes after Meta took down two separate pieces of content posted by the same Instagram account, one in 2021, the other in 2022. The account is maintained by a US-based couple who identify as transgender and non-binary.

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The featured images showed them bare chested with covered nipples, discussing transgender healthcare and gender affirming surgery. Meta’s automated systems reviewed the posts multiple times and ultimately removed them for violating the Sexual Solicitation Community Standard, seemingly because they contain breasts and a link to a fundraising page.

Following the ruling, Meta has restored the posts. The Oversight Board said, “Meta should first conduct a comprehensive human rights impact assessment on such a change, engaging diverse stakeholders, and create a plan to address any harms identified.

It should provide more detail in its public-facing Sexual Solicitation Community Standard on the criteria that lead to content being removed and revise its guidance for moderators.” 

The Adult Nudity and Sexual Activity Community Standard currently prohibits images containing female nipples other than in specified circumstances, such as breastfeeding and gender confirmation surgery.

The Board has consistently said Meta should be sensitive to how its policies impact people subject to discrimination and that the approach needs clear criteria that respect international human rights standards.