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Pinterest embraces nudes as rivals tighten content monitoring

Social media networks are increasingly having to balance the social trends and interests of their users, while policing their sites for content that advertisers might find offensive.

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Pinterest will allow more nude images to be published on the popular photo-based social network, even as other social networks like Facebook grapple with how to tighten their moderation of potentially offensive content.

The online pinboard site said it was responding to complaints from artists and photographers against its strict no-nudity policy. "Pinterest is about expressing your passions and people are passionate about art and that may include nudes," the company told the Financial Times. "So we're going to try to accommodate that."

Until now, Pinterest's pinning etiquette, as its content policy is called, has asked users to report images that contain "nudity, partial nudity or pornography."

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Facebook, meanwhile, made a commitment on Wednesday to review and improve its online moderation procedures, after several companies pulled their advertising campaigns in protest at the fact that their ads were being shown next to offensive, misogynistic content posted on to the social network.

The diverging approaches show how social media networks are increasingly having to walk a tight path on reflecting the social trends and interests of their users, while policing them at the same time.

This is further complicated by demands from advertisers, who are the primary source of revenue for most social media sites. Facebook Inc. will earn $6.6-billion (U.S.) in total revenue worldwide this year, of which $5.6-billion will come from advertising, according to estimates from eMarketer.

Carl Fremont, chief digital officer at media agency MEC, said: "Marketers don't want to be associated with anything negative or controversial. We need a filter on Facebook that can weed out the type of user-generated content that's brand inappropriate."

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, said "there's a real tension" between what advertisers want, and free expression.

"The same people who are protesting us also acknowledge we're not behind everyone else, we're actually ahead" in terms of limiting misogynistic content, she told a conference on Wednesday.

"With these types of pages that are crude humour against women, we're saying, okay, but you cant be anonymous any more."

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Facebook's commitment to review its moderation policies has lured some advertisers back. Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., the Japanese car maker, said it would resume its advertising with Facebook as the social networking site committed to updating its training and guidelines for its online moderators.

But Nationwide, the U.K.'s largest building society, said its ad spending with Facebook remained suspended and called on the social networking site to have "stringent processes and guidelines in place to ensure that brands are able to protect themselves from appearing alongside inappropriate content."

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