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Almodóvar criticises algorithms after Instagram apologises for removing film poster for nudity

Actress Penelope Cruz, left, and director Pedro Almodovar at the 72nd international film festival in Cannes in 2019.
Actress Penelope Cruz, left, and director Pedro Almodovar at the 72nd international film festival in Cannes in 2019.   -   Copyright  Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP, File
By Lauren Chadwick
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Spanish film director Pedro Almodóvar criticised social media algorithms after his movie poster was removed from Instagram for nudity.

Instagram has since restored images of the poster for the new film Madres Paralelas (Parallel Mothers), which shows milk dripping from a woman's nipple. The company apologised for taking down the images.

"We initially removed several instances of this image for breaking our rules against nudity. We do, however, make exceptions to allow nudity in certain circumstances, which includes when there’s clear artistic context," a Facebook company spokesperson said in a statement provided to Euronews.**

"We’ve therefore restored posts sharing the Almodóvar movie poster to Instagram, and we’re really sorry for any confusion caused.”

In a statement posted to actress Penelope Cruz's Instagram account, _**_Almodóvar thanked people for reposting the photo on social media, calling it a victory.

"We must be alert before machines decide what we can do and what we cannot do," he wrote.
"I have always relied on the kindness of strangers, but as long as they are human and an algorithm is not human. No matter how much information the algorithm has, it will never have a heart or common sense."

Activists have urged social media companies to treat images of men and women's nipples equally as part of the #freethenipple campaign.

But Instagram's guidelines state that "for a variety of reasons" nudity is not allowed including "some photos of female nipples".

Nipples are allowed on Instagram "in the context of breastfeeding, birth-giving and after-birth moments, health-related situations (for example, post-mastectomy, breast cancer awareness or gender confirmation surgery) or an act of protest are allowed," the guidelines state.

Artist Javier Jaén who designed the poster said he was not surprised that the poster was removed by the social media company.

"A million thanks to all of you who have made it possible by sharing the poster," Jaén tweeted. He also thanked Almodóvar and his production company for their "courage, integrity and freedom" in releasing the poster.

The film starring Penelope Cruz will open the Venice Film Festival in early September.