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Facebook Bans Revenge Porn, Clarifies Policies on Nudity and “Real Names”


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Following in Twitter and Reddit’s suit, Facebook announced last night that “images shared in revenge or without permissions from the people in the images” will be removed from the site. Business Insider notes that although a large portion of these images would likely have already been banned under Facebook’s restrictions on nudity, the updated Community Guidelines represent the company’s first firm stance against revenge porn.

According to the new guidelines, nude pictures of any kind that “focus in on fully exposed buttocks” or feature “images of female breasts if they include the nipple” may also be subject to removal, although Facebook will always “allow photos of women actively engaged in breastfeeding or showing breasts with post-mastectomy scarring.”

The company “restrict[s] the display of nudity because some audiences within our global community may be sensitive to this type of content,” but admits that “people sometimes share content containing nudity for reasons like awareness campaigns or artistic projects.” Under the new guidelines, photographs, paintings, sculptures and other art depicting nudity will be allowed (earlier this month, the site banned a user for posting a picture of the 19th-century painting l’Origine du Monde).

The updated Community Guidelines also clarify the site’s controversial “real name policy,” explaining that members may use their “authentic identity” rather than their legal name (in the past, the policy has affected drag queens, drag kings, transgender users, domestic abuse survivors, and even Native American members whose legal names weren’t deemed “real” enough). According to Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of global product policy, the new standards will hopefully clear up “a lot of confusion from people who thought we were asking them to use what’s on their driver’s license. We want people communicating using the name they actually use in real life.”

Facebook says that yesterday’s updates merely clarify pre-existing community standards, and that the detailed guidelines took a year to develop.

How do you feel about these updates, friends? Do you think Facebook has done enough to make amends for its real name policy? Are you optimistic about the new nudity and revenge porn guidelines?

Personally, I think the success of Facebook’s stance against revenge porn may depend on how seriously the site takes nonconsensual images of all kinds (for instance, Twitter’s new policies may even address “creep shots,” or photos taken of a woman in public without her permission). And although Facebook’s new revenge porn policy may have been designed with primarily female users in mind, its nudity guidelines still reflect a sexist double standard:

Fear of the female body trumps respect for artistic nudity, I guess.

(via The Verge and Re/Code)

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