Facebook and Instagram might lift ban on female nipple

ban nipple

The current ban limits the right to expression for certain groups of people

Currently, when you scroll through Facebook and Instagram, you won’t see a lot of bare-chested women, trans- or nonbinary people. That is because Meta, the company that owns Facebook and Instagram, only allowed bare-chested men to post pictures on the platform. But this might soon change.

Fight for equality

For decades, people have been fighting for equality when it comes to the kind of content they’re allowed to post on Facebook or Instagram. In the 2000s, mothers that were breastfeeding held a so-called ‘nurse-in’ at the headquarters of Facebook to protest the ban on breasts that was upheld by the company. And in 2013, the hashtag FreeTheNipple went mainstream. The cause wasn’t necessarily to let women pose topples in pictures. According to Micol Hebron, a Los Angeles based artist, it is about autonomy. She told The Guardian: “I think it’s really important to hold on to the goal of allowing all bodies to have autonomy.”


Currently, the moderation of content is done through Artificial Intelligence systems. And this AI system has to identify wether content is harmful, inappropriate or pornographic. According to Jillian York, activist and director of international freedom of expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, it is tricky to make sure an AI always makes the right call. She told The Guardian: “For instance, it’s not easy for an automated technology to make a decision about who is a topless adult, versus who is a topless child. AI may be able to make a determination between a nine-year-old and a 26-year-old, but what about a 17-year-old and an 18-year-old?”

The board of Meta is now working on loosening their policies. They want to improve their AI software. So it will be better at making a distinction between porn and just a woman, a trans- or nonbinary person posing topless for a picture. With this comes the change in perspective of not automatically viewing breasts as something sexual. According to the board the current policy is based on: “…a binary view of gender and a distinction between male and female bodies”. Now, Meta wants to work on a policy that makes sure that “…all people are treated in a manner consistent with international human rights standards”.

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Source: The Guardian | Image: Unsplash, Dainis Graveris