Facebook London HQ Stormed By Protesters Dressed As Boobs For Censoring Tattoos
By Mikelle Leow, 03 Sep 2021
Image via Vicky Martin Nipple Artist
All the nipples that Facebook banned came back to bite it on Wednesday, when a group of activists wearing inflatable breast costumes took to its London office, calling for improvements to its image detection algorithms.
The campaign was run by areola tattooing group World Medical Artists, and involved breast cancer survivors as well as medical tattooists who help post-mastectomy patients “get their nipples back” by inking new, hyperrealistic 3D ones. A number of them apparently had their photos removed from the site or had their accounts banned.
“This is art!” was emblazoned across the boobs. Tits for tats.
Per Evening Standard, the protesters emphasized that they should not be objectified simply for sharing their own experiences of breast cancer. They also stressed that by taking down photos of the tattoos and the such, Facebook is preventing the community from learning about breast cancer treatments.
We made it! We were there! #wma2021 @blingboxmedia @Estelle_Keeber @taania_wood @Medicoslondon @DanylAJohnson @clo1975 @MattHoyOfficial @AmyJacksonL1 @amy_reast @LadyNadiaEssex @theSandiBogle pic.twitter.com/xpObbh25FN— Vicky Martin Nipple Artist (@VickyMMethod) September 2, 2021
While there are no restrictions on male nipples appearing on Facebook and Instagram, most images of female nipples are prohibited. Exceptions include “those depicting acts of protest, women actively engaged in breastfeeding… photos of post-mastectomy scarring,” and those with “clear artistic context.”
By Facebook’s own guidelines, sharing areola tattoos isn’t breaching any rules. The campaigners are thus urging the social network to improve its image checkers and stop banning photos of post-mastectomy patients.
The company has restored all images that were mistakenly taken down from the World Medical Artists page. It acknowledges that the tattoo designs are so “extremely realistic… our technology—and even our content reviewers—don’t always spot the difference.”
Facebook says uploaders can help its checking process along by clearly indicating that the images depict tattoos.
“Images showing post-mastectomy scarring and areola tattoos are absolutely allowed on Facebook and Instagram,” a spokesperson for Facebook responds. “We applaud the incredible work medical tattooists do for breast cancer survivors, and know our apps play an important role in helping these communities connect.”
The platform says it is in discussion with World Medical Artists about how to stop medical tattoo imagery from being flagged.
[via Evening Standard, cover image via Vicky Martin Nipple Artist]
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