Facebook has agreed to meet with anti-censorship groups following a nude protest outside its New York headquarters last week.
The #WeTheNipple protest, co-organized by the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) and American artist Spencer Tunick, sought to highlight the damage its community standards inflict on artists.
The faces of #WeTheNipple Thank you to my crew, my Project Director Lauren @lollycrosshatcher; my Camera Techs Dan and Lexi @thedanperrone @Ch3m1st; My Production Assistants Luca @lucamercedes, Matt @matthewbernucca, Austin @huqleberry, Sam @samuel_casey__ , Natalie @nataliewhiteforequalrights; My documentary photographer Fay Fox @Faymousstudios; I hope I did not forget anyone?! Ah, The Bean! @thebeannyc For donating their space to gather to keep the shoot location secret. - - - Micol Hebron was the first to create the digital male nipple pasty in 2014 and encouraged fellow artists and the public to use it to cover female nipples on social media
A post shared by Spencer Tunick (@spencertunick) on
Facebook’s community standards state that it “restrict[s] some images of female breasts that include the nipple, we allow other images, including those depicting acts of protest, women actively engaged in breast-feeding, and photos of post-mastectomy scaring.”
However, the NCAC claims that “the site’s policies, which make an exception for nudity in paintings and sculptures, exclude photography. Photographers reported having their accounts and photos deleted without warning or explanation.”
It has also been widely criticised that its policies largely prohibit images depicting female nipples but it imposes no bans of those on men.
A number of campaigns to revoke the policies have been set up in recent years. Last week, 125 demonstrators lay naked in the middle in front of Facebook’s building with nothing but images of male nipples covering their genitalia.
Facebook has since agreed to meet with the National Coalition Against Censorship “and other stakeholders.”
"Our conversations with the National Coalition Against Censorship preceded last weekend's demonstration, and will continue on long after. It's important for us to hear directly from different communities who use Facebook and Instagram," a spokesperson said.
However, it stressed this meeting is not a commitment to update its policy, but to learn more about the group's concerns surrounding censorship.
In 2017, The Drum magazine delved into the issue on the back of an ad campaign created by DDB Berlin for Pink Ribbon Germany called 'Check it before it's removed' which deliberately violated the polices Facebook has in place. You can find out more about Facebook’s problematic relationship with censorship here.