The Meta Content Advisory Council has urged the tech company to clarify its policy on ‘Nudity and Adult Sexual Activity’ to prevent discrimination against transgender and non-binary people on its social media.

Meta limits the publication of images that show nudity or sexual activity on its social networks (Facebook and Instagram) because it is sensitive content that is not suitable for all users, and because said publications may be images or videos that are not consented to or of minors.

There are exceptions in the publication of nudes, since these can be shared educational or medical purposes, to raise awareness for a cause or as a form of protest. The clearest example of what is allowed are images or videos that help raise awareness and alert about breast cancer.

However, as it stands, it is based “on a binary view of gender and a distinction between male and female bodies. Such an approach does not make clear how the rules apply to intersex, non-binary and transgender people,and requires reviewers to make quick, subjective assessments of sex and gender, which is impractical when moderating content on a large scale,” the Content Advisory Council said in its latest report.

This note comes after the review of two cases, which the Council has considered jointly, regarding two independent publications made from the same Instagram account, one in 2021 and another in 2022, by a couple who identifies as transgender and non-binary.

In both images the couple appears with “naked torso and covered nipples”, and the accompanying texts speak of medical care of transgender people and that one member of the couple was going to subject a gender affirming surgery, for which, in addition, they had started a financing campaign.

Instagram’s automatic systems were activated with the two publications, which also received complaints from some users. This prompted a subsequent review to identify potential violations of community standards, which resulted in the withdrawal of the publications. This measure was justified by the presence of breasts and a link to a fundraising page.

“The Advisory Council determines that the removal of these publications is not in line with Meta’s community standards, values, or human rights responsibilities,” it notes in its report, and even notes that “it has consistently said that Meta should be sensitive upon how your policies impact people subject to discrimination“.

The Council took the opportunity to point out another lack that it has detected in the policy, different from the one that refers to the reviewed case, for which it considers that Meta “you should also examine whether the policy on nudity and adult sexual activity protects against non-consensual sharing of images“.

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