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Bottom line? No buttocks on Facebook under new rules

TrendingBy Karl Doyle
REARGUARD ACTION: Buttocks are no longer allowed on Facebook - unless they're covered up
REARGUARD ACTION: Buttocks are no longer allowed on Facebook - unless they're covered up

Facebook has created a new rule book that tells users the sort of content they can and can't post on the site, including a ban on images of buttocks.

The social network has been criticised in the past for inconsistency when it comes to user-published content. While images of breastfeeding have been tightly clamped down on, videos of beheadings have made it onto newsfeeds on more than one occasion.

Now, the social media hub has clarified its policies with a new Community Standards section of the website. This includes clarification that some nudity is allowed for artistic purposes, but images of genitals or buttocks will be taken down.

Facebook's had of global policy management, Monika Bickert, said in a blog post announcing the new page: "Billions of pieces of content are shared on Facebook every day. We hope these updates help provide more clarity about the standards we have, whether they are our own Community Standards or those imposed by different laws around the world."

On the subject of direct physical threats, Facebook said it reviews all reports of threats to identify those which are credible to public and personal safety. "We remove credible threats of physical harm to individuals. We also remove specific threats of theft, vandalism or other financial harm."

The site said it also factors in location when evaluating threats, including the status of the part of the world a threat has come from.

Another key area to be addressed is self-harm, with the promotion of self-harm or suicide not allowed. Facebook states it will remove content that "promotes or encourages suicide or any other type of self-harm, including self-mutilation and eating disorders".

The site adds that it will not allow any content that identifies victims or survivors of self-harm or suicide and targets them.

While confirming it doesn't consider body modification to be self-harm, it added it does allow the sharing of information about the topic of self-harm and suicide when it "does not promote these things".

The new guidelines also say that Facebook does not allow any organisations to have a presence on the site that engage in terrorist activity, organised crime, or promoting hate against others.

The site says it will also remove content expressing support for any groups involved in such behaviour. This comes in the wake of increased social media activity from organisations such as ISIS.

On nudity, the social giant said its policies can "sometimes be more blunt than we would like", highlighting that while some nudity may be for a campaign or artistic purpose, some Facebook users in different parts of the world may be be sensitive to this type of content.

As a result, Facebook said: "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. Some verbal descriptions of sexual acts that go into vivid detail may also be removed."

There is also a section on hate speech, with Facebook confirming it relies on users to report cases of hate speech.

However, the new Community Standards page identifies prohibited content as anything that directly attacks people based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, gender, disability or disease.

The site added that it encourages people to "challenge ideas, institutions and practices because such challenges can promote debate and greater understanding".

Facebook also said that it allows "humour, satire or social commentary related to these topics" if the user is posting under their real identity.

The new guidelines also cover the area of violence and graphic content. Here, Facebook will continue to be a place where users can share experiences and raise awareness, says the site.

"Sometimes, those experiences and issues involve violence and graphic images of public interest or concern, such as human rights abuses or acts of terrorism. In many instances, when people share this type of content, they are condemning it or raising awareness about it.

"We remove graphic images when they are shared for sadistic pleasure or to celebrate or glorify violence."