Oversight Board targets Instagram policy that makes 'distinction between male and female bodies'

Policy can be limiting to transgender-identified individuals, board claims.

Updated: January 17, 2023 - 2:26pm

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The oversight authority that adjudicates content moderation on Facebook and Instagram said this week that the latter photo-sharing platform's rules on nudity are too reliant on a "binary" distinction between male and female bodies. 

The Oversight Board said in a release that it had reversed an earlier decision by Instagram to remove two photographs of transgender-identified individuals who were partially nude because the policy that led to that decision "is based on a binary view of gender and a distinction between male and female bodies."

"Such an approach makes it unclear how the rules apply to intersex, non-binary and transgender people," the board said, "and requires reviewers to make rapid and subjective assessments of sex and gender, which is not practical when moderating content at scale."

Instagram's "restrictions and exceptions to the rules on female nipples are extensive and confusing," the board claimed, "particularly as they apply to transgender and non-binary people."

Parent company Meta "must be sensitive to how its policies impact people subject to discrimination," the board said, urging the company to rewrite its rules "so that all people are treated in a manner consistent with international human rights standards, without discrimination on the basis of sex or gender."