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    Oversight Board presses Meta to revise ‘convoluted and poorly defined’ nudity policy

    Meta’s Oversight Board, which independently evaluates troublesome content material moderation selections, has overturned the corporate’s takedown of two posts that depicted a nonbinary and transgender particular person’s naked chest. The case represents a failure of a convoluted and impractical nudity coverage, the Board stated, and really useful that Meta take a severe take a look at revising it.
    The resolution involved two individuals who, as a part of a fundraising marketing campaign for one of many couple, had been hoping to bear prime surgical procedure (typically talking the discount of breast tissue). They posted two photos to Instagram, in 2021 and 2022, each with naked chests however nipples lined, and included a hyperlink to their fundraising web site.
    These posts had been repeatedly flagged (by AI and customers) and Meta in the end eliminated them, as violations of the “Sexual Solicitation Community Standard,” principally as a result of they mixed nudity with asking for cash. Although the coverage is plainly meant to stop solicitation by intercourse staff (one other situation solely), it was repurposed right here to take away completely innocuous content material.
    When the couple appealed the choice and introduced it to the Oversight Board, Meta reversed it as an “error.” But the Board took it up anyway as a result of “removing these posts is not in line with Meta’s Community Standards, values or human rights responsibilities. These cases also highlight fundamental issues with Meta’s policies.”
    They wished to take the chance to level out how impractical the coverage is because it exists, and to advocate to Meta that it take a severe take a look at whether or not its method right here truly displays its said values and priorities.
    The restrictions and exceptions to the principles on feminine nipples are in depth and complicated, notably as they apply to transgender and non-binary individuals. Exceptions to the coverage vary from protests, to scenes of childbirth, and medical and well being contexts, together with prime surgical procedure and breast most cancers consciousness. These exceptions are sometimes convoluted and poorly outlined. In some contexts, for instance, moderators should assess the extent and nature of seen scarring to find out whether or not sure exceptions apply. The lack of readability inherent on this coverage creates uncertainty for customers and reviewers, and makes it unworkable in apply.
    Essentially: Even if this coverage did symbolize a humane and applicable method to moderating nudity, it’s not scalable. For one motive or one other, Meta ought to modify it. The abstract of the Board’s resolution is right here and features a hyperlink to a extra full dialogue of the problems. (When I requested about earlier occasions that they had challenged this coverage, they famous this 2020 case involving breast most cancers consciousness.)
    The apparent risk Meta’s platforms face, nonetheless, ought to they chill out their nudity guidelines, is porn. Founder Mark Zuckerberg has stated prior to now that making his platforms applicable for everybody necessitates taking a transparent stance on sexualized nudity. You’re welcome to put up horny stuff and hyperlink to your OnlyFans, however no hardcore porn in Reels, please.

    But the Oversight Board says this “public morals” stance is likewise in want of revision (this excerpt from the complete report flippantly edited for readability):
    Meta’s rationale of defending “community sensitivity” deserves additional examination. This rationale has the potential to align with the official purpose of “public morals.” That stated, the Board notes that the purpose of defending “public morals” has typically been improperly invoked by governmental speech regulators to violate human rights, notably these of members of minority and weak teams.
    Moreover, the Board is worried in regards to the identified and recurring disproportionate burden on expression which were skilled by ladies, transgender, and non-binary individuals as a result of Meta’s insurance policies…
    The Board acquired public feedback from many customers that expressed concern in regards to the presumptive sexualization of girls’s, trans and non-binary our bodies, when no comparable assumption of sexualization of photos is utilized to cisgender males.
    The Board has taken the bull by the horns right here. There’s no sense dancing round it: The coverage of recognizing some our bodies as inherently sexually suggestive however not others is just untenable within the context of Meta’s purportedly progressive stance on such issues. Meta needs to have its cake and eat it too: give lip service to individuals just like the trans and NB individuals like those that introduced this to its consideration, but additionally respect the extra restrictive morals of conservative teams and pearl-clutchers worldwide.
    The Board Members who assist a intercourse and gender-neutral grownup nudity coverage acknowledge that underneath worldwide human rights requirements as utilized to states, distinctions on the grounds of protected traits could also be made primarily based on cheap and goal standards and after they serve a official objective. They don’t imagine that the distinctions inside Meta’s nudity coverage meet that customary. They additional notice that, as a enterprise, Meta has made human rights commitments which are inconsistent with an method that restricts on-line expression primarily based on the corporate’s notion of intercourse and gender.
    Citing a number of experiences and internationally negotiated definitions and traits, the Board’s resolution suggests {that a} new coverage be cast that abandons the present construction of categorizing and eradicating photos, substituting one thing extra reflective of contemporary definitions of gender and sexuality. This could, in fact, they warn, depart the door open to issues like nonconsensual sexual imagery being posted (a lot of that is mechanically flagged and brought down, one thing that may change underneath a brand new system), or an inflow of grownup content material. The latter, nonetheless, will be dealt with by means aside from whole prohibition.
    When reached for remark, Meta famous that it had already reversed the elimination and that it welcomes the Board’s resolution. It added: “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.” I’ve requested for particular examples of organizations, points, or enhancements and can replace this put up if I hear again.

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