Has Facebook Reversed Their ‘Nipple Ban’?

Several Facebook users posted claims that the social network had reversed their ban on images of bare-chested women, but these were simply rumors.

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Claim

Facebook revised its position on to female toplessness or nipple exposure in imagery as of May 2017.

Rating

Origin

In late May 2017, rumors appeared that a long-standing ban on female toplessness (particularly showing women’s nipples) had been lifted or revised:

-_Female_nipple_ban_has_been_lifted_on_facebook___

_26__Well_guys__I_guess_the_fb_nipple_ban_has_been____

However, the posts generally did not provide links to any information supporting the claim.

In 2014, Facebook changed its policy on photographs showing breastfeeding, instructing its moderators to stop flagging photographs of nursing mothers as obscene. As the Independent reported at the time: 

Now, the social media giant has ordered its moderators to consider the context of a photo or image, meaning non-sexual photos including female nipples, such as nursing mothers or women with mastectomies, will be allowed on the website.

Facebook’s Community Standards as of 5 June 2017 maintained:

We remove photographs of people displaying genitals or focusing in on fully exposed buttocks. We also restrict some images of female breasts if they include the nipple, but we always allow photos of women actively engaged in breastfeeding or showing breasts with post-mastectomy scarring. We also allow photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depicts nude figures. Restrictions on the display of both nudity and sexual activity also apply to digitally created content unless the content is posted for educational, humorous, or satirical purposes. Explicit images of sexual intercourse are prohibited. Descriptions of sexual acts that go into vivid detail may also be removed.

A Facebook representative told us by e-mail that those standards had not changed:

As Mark [Zuckerberg, the Facebook CEO] mentioned in his community letter, “each person should see as little objectionable content as possible, and each person should be able to share what they want while being told they cannot share something as little as possible,” so we are always open to finding ways to allow more content.  With that being said, in general, our policy does not allow female nipples on the platform except in certain circumstances and that that has not changed. 

  • Bickert, Monica.   “Facebook’s Community Standards: How and Where We Draw the Line.”
        Facebook Newsroom.   23 May 2017.

  • Facebook Community Standards.   “Nudity.”
        Accessed 30 May 2017.

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