Facebook to lift ban on topless photos for trans and non-binary females, but not for women

Facebook and Instagram are to allow female transgender and non-binary users to upload topless photographs while restrictions will remain in place for women.

Mia Ashton Montreal QC

Facebook and Instagram are to allow female transgender and non-binary users to upload topless photographs while restrictions will remain in place for women, reports the New York Post.

The decision was reached by Meta’s Oversight Board, an independent group of experts that assesses the company’s content moderation and censorship policies, referred to by Mark Zuckerberg as Meta’s “Supreme Court.”

The board ordered Facebook and Instagram to remove a ban on images of topless females so long as they identify as transgender or non-binary.

“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,” reads the decision. 

The word “cisgender” is used by proponents of gender identity ideology to signify someone who has a gender identity that matches their birth sex. However, those who are critical of the idea that everyone has a gender identity feel that the term is meaningless.

The Oversight Board’s decision came after two Instagram posts by a couple who identify as transgender and non-binary were removed because both of the females were topless. The couple appealed and the ban was overturned.

The upcoming change is in response to a number of complaints the company has received that their policy discriminates against “gender-fluid users.”

Further exceptions to the ban on photographs showing female nipples include breastfeeding and birth photographs.

The photographs that sparked this review of the policy were seeking to raise funds for the trans-identified female to have a medically unnecessary bilateral mastectomy. The Oversight Board did not make any comment as to whether such content might be inappropriate and or whether allowing such posts might be contributing to the rising number of teenage girls and young women opting for this invasive procedure.

“We are constantly evaluating our policies to help make our platforms safer for everyone,” a spokesperson for Meta told the New York Post. “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 faced backlash back in 2013 when the social media platform removed clips of a documentary called “Free the Nipple” that was advocating for women to be allowed to go topless in public.


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