Instagram modifies “no breasts” policy, Facebook launches “Oversight Board” for content removal disputes

Mainstream social media platform Instagram has announced that it is updating its breast-related content policies, as well as finally accepting submissions for its “Oversight Board” to review. At first glance, these changes may seem like they will give a huge boost to sex workers who have been unfairly treated by the platform, but it is unlikely that either of these changes will make much difference. Instagram has consistently denied everything from the practice of shadow banning to the suspension of accounts using sexual language, and they are unlikely to change any time soon–after all, their parent company, Facebook, is notoriously hostile to sexual content.

New Nudity Policy for Breasts

Following a three-month campaign by a group led by plus-size model Nyome Nicholas-Williams, Instagram has decided that it will allow content that features women “simply hugging, cupping or holding their breasts”. Instagram has, however, made it very clear that this is not simply a “no nipple” rule, and that they will still have wide latitude to decide what content is too sexual for the platform. Images that involve “squeezing” in a “grabbing motion” using “bent fingers” will not be permitted. With that kind of vague wording, it’s fairly safe to say that Instagram isn’t planning to loosen up at all.

Facebook / Instagram Oversight Board

The new “Oversight Board” has been created by Facebook to give users a final place to appeal Instagram and Facebook’s content removal decisions. The board, which is funded by Facebook and has 4 co-chairs appointed by Facebook, claims to be completely independent, and both Facebook and Instagram have committed to abiding by the board’s decisions.

“[I]f your content is removed from Facebook or Instagram and you have exhausted the company’s appeal process, you can challenge this decision by appealing to the Oversight Board. Similarly, Facebook can now refer cases for a decision about whether content should remain up or come down. In the coming months you will also be able to appeal to the Board about content you want Facebook to remove.” – from the Oversight Board’s announcement

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