Facebook’s updated community standards explain what it will ban

Facebook's updated community standards explain what it will ban

Facebook, the world’s largest social network, has updated its community standards to clarify the content users are and aren’t allowed to share. While the policies themselves are not changing, Facebook said in a news post that the update will provide “more detail and clarity on what is and is not allowed.”

With a worldwide user base of over one billion and even more pieces of content shared daily, the revised Facebook community standards are a response to the community’s call for more guidance in what is acceptable to post to the social network.

“These standards are designed to create an environment where people feel motivated and empowered to treat each other with empathy and respect,” said Monika Bickert, Facebook head of global policy management, and Chris Sonderby, Deputy General Counsel in a news post.

The updated policy reiterates Facebook’s stance against harassment, but provides “more guidance on policies related to self-injury, dangerous organizations, bullying and harassment, criminal activity, sexual violence and exploitation, nudity, hate speech, and violence and graphic content.”

Facebook again stressed that its policies weren’t being radically altered. “While some of this guidance is new, it is consistent with how we’ve applied our standards in the past.”

Also included are sections on protecting intellectual property and account security, as well as “encouraging respectful behaviour.”

Facebook relies on user reports to deal with offensive or prohibited content, and based on the revised guidelines, the social network has no plans to change that system. “If people believe Pages, profiles or individual pieces of content violate our Community Standards, they can report it to us by clicking the “Report” link at the top, right-hand corner,” said Bickert in the news post.

Facebook has also said that it may geotarget blocks in accordance with laws of specific countries, even if the content doesn’t violate the community standards. Citing the example of blasphemy, Facebook said “if a country requests that we remove content because it is illegal in that country, we will not necessarily remove it from Facebook entirely, but may restrict access to it in the country where it is illegal.”

In addition to the updated guidelines, the news update also commented on government requests for both account data and content removal made to Facebook. The requests made by various governments are fully detailed here. There was an 11 percent increase in the amount of content removed due to violation of local law, while the number of government requests for account data remained fairly flat, rising to 35,051 from 34,946.

Facebook has been contacted for comment, but had not replied at time of publication.

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