Oversight panel presses Meta to revise ‘complicated and poorly defined’ nudity policy TechCrunch

The Oversight Board of Meta, which independently assesses tough content moderation decisions, reversed the company’s removal of two posts depicting topless breasts of a non-bisexual and transgender person. gender. The panel said the case represented a failure of a complex and impractical nudity policy, and recommended that Meta seriously consider revising it.

The decision, which involves the two of them, is part of a fundraising campaign for one of two couples who are hoping to have upper part surgery (generally breast reduction). They posted two images to Instagram, in 2021 and 2022, both topless but with nipples covered, and included a link to their fundraiser.

These posts were flagged several times (by AI and users) and Meta eventually removed them, for violating the “Community Standards for Sexual Provocation”, essentially because they incorporated nudity. close to asking for money. While the policy is clearly intended to prevent solicitation of prostitutes (another matter entirely), the policy has been reused here to remove completely harmless content.

When the pair appealed the decision and took it to the Board of Supervisors, Meta reversed the decision to an “error”. But anyway, the Board took over because “the removal of these posts is inconsistent with Meta’s Community Standards, values ​​or human rights responsibilities. These cases also highlight fundamental issues with Meta’s policy.”

They wanted to take the opportunity to point out how unrealistic the policy was when it existed and suggested to Meta that they should seriously consider whether their approach here really reflects the values ​​and their stated preference or not.

The restrictions and exceptions to the female nipple rules are broad and confusing, especially when they apply to transgender and nonbinary people. Exceptions to the policy include protests, birth scenes, medical and wellness contexts, including top surgery and breast cancer awareness. These outliers are often complex and poorly defined. For example, in some contexts, moderators must assess the extent and nature of visible scarring to determine if certain exceptions apply. The lack of clarity inherent in this policy creates uncertainty for users and reviewers and makes this policy unfeasible in practice.

Fundamentally: even if this policy represents a humane and appropriate approach to censorship of nudity, it is not extensible. For one reason or another, Meta should modify it. Summary of the Board’s decision here and includes a link to a more complete discussion of the issues.

However, the obvious threat that Meta’s platforms face if they loosen their nudity rules is pornography. Founder Mark Zuckerberg has previously said that making his platforms accessible to everyone requires taking a clear stance on sexual nudity. You are welcome to post sexy content and links to your OnlyFans, but please do not post heavy pornography in Reels.

But the Board of Supervisors says this “public ethics” stance also needs to be revised (this excerpt from the entire report has been lightly edited for clarity):

Meta’s rationale for defending “community sensitivities” needs further examination. This rationale is likely to be consistent with the legitimate objective of “public service ethics”. In saying so, the Council notes that the aim of defending “social morality” is sometimes inappropriately invoked by government speech control bodies as a violation of human rights, in particular the rights of members of minority and vulnerable groups.

…Further, the Board is concerned about the known and recurrent burden of disproportionate expression experienced by women, transgender and non-binary people as a result of Meta’s policies…

The panel received public comments from many users expressing concern about the presumption of female body sexualization, transsexuality and non-binary, where no comparable presumption of morphosexualization was available. The photo is applied to transgender men.

The board took cow horns here. It makes no sense to dance around it: the policy of recognizing some bodies as inherently sexually suggestive, but not others, is simply unacceptable in the context of a progressive stance. Meta’s purported set of such matters. Meta wants to eat her cake and eat it too: lip service to people like transgenders and NBs who like people who have caught their attention, but also respecting more restrictive moral codes of conservative groups and pearl holders worldwide.

Council Members advocating a policy on adult nudity regardless of sex and gender recognize that according to international human rights standards applicable to States, discrimination is based on characteristics Protected points can be made based on reasonable and objective criteria and when they serve a legitimate purpose. They do not believe that the variation in Meta’s nudity policy meets that standard. They further note that, as a business, Meta has made human rights commitments that are inconsistent with the company’s approach to limiting online expression based on the company’s perceptions of gender and gender identity. .

Citing a number of reports as well as internationally negotiated definitions and trends, the Council’s decision proposes that a new policy be formed to abandon the classification structure and remove images. now, replace it with something that better reflects modern definitions of gender and sexuality. Of course, they warn that this could leave the door open for things like gratuitous sexual images to be posted (most of these are automatically flagged and taken down, some content may change under a new system) or adult content is rampant. However, the latter can be handled by other measures that are outright banned.

In making a comment, Meta noted that it reversed the deletion and it welcome your decision. It added: “We know more can be done to support the LGBTQ+ community, and that means working with LGBTQ+ experts and advocacy organizations on a range of issues and product improvements. ” I’ve asked for specific examples of organizations, issues, or improvements and will update this post if I get a response.

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