SOCIAL MEDIA: Advancing Our Policies On Online Bullying And Harassment

dWeb.News Article from Daniel Webster dWeb.News

dWeb.News Article from Daniel Webster dWeb.News

Today, we’re announcing updates to our bullying and harassment policies to better protect people on our apps.

We’re creating a policy to protect against intimidation and mass harassment.

We will now remove harmful content from public figures and provide greater protections for those public figures who are not voluntarily famous, such as journalists and human rights defenders.

It’s important that everyone on our apps feels safe to engage and connect with their communities. Bullying and harassment are not allowed on our platform. However, when they do occur, we take action. We remove any content that is in violation of our policies. Accounts that are repeatedly breaking our rules are disabled. These policies are also subject to regular pressure testing by our safety specialists, and we make any necessary changes.

On National Bullying Prevention and Awareness Day in the US, we’re announcing updates to our global bullying and harassment policies to better protect members of our community, particularly those who may be vulnerable to online abuse.

Combating Coordinated Mass Harassment

We’ve launched a new policy that helps protect people from mass harassment and intimidation from multiple accounts. We will now take down coordinated mass harassment efforts that target individuals at higher risk of offline harm (e.g. victims of violent tragedies and government dissidents) – even though the content doesn’t violate our policies. We will also remove any objectionable content on personal surfaces that could be considered harassment, such as direct messages to inboxes or comments on posts or profiles. To enforce this policy, we will need additional information and context.

In addition, we will also remove state-linked and adversarial networks of accounts, Pages and Groups that work together to harass or silence people, for example a state-sponsored organization using closed private groups to coordinate mass posting on dissident profiles.

More Protections for Public Figures

Public figures — whether they’re politicians, journalists, celebrities or creators — use Facebook and Instagram to engage directly with their followers. We are always striving to find the right balance between protecting public figures from abuse and allowing them to have open conversations on our apps. To allow freedom of expression and legitimized public discourse about public figures, our bullying and harassment policy distinguishes between private and public figures.

Public figures shouldn’t be subjected to degrading or sexualized attacks. We currently remove attacks on public figures that encompass a wide range of harms. Based on feedback from a large number of global stakeholders, we will now also remove:

Severe sexualizing content
Profiles, Pages, groups or events dedicated to sexualizing the public figure
Derogatory, sexualized photoshopped images and drawings
Attacks through negative physical descriptions that are tagged to, mention or posted on the public figure’s account
Degrading content depicting individuals in the process of bodily functions

In addition, we will remove unwanted sexualized commentary and repeated content which is sexually harassing. We will use the context of the victim to determine what constitutes “unwanted”. These changes were made because it is possible to weaponize public figures’ appearances, which can be unnecessary and often not related with the work they represent.

We also recognize that becoming a public figure isn’t always a choice, and that this fame can increase the risk of bullying and harassment — particularly if the person comes from an underrepresented community, including women, people of color or the LGBTQ community. Consistent with the commitments made in our corporate human rights policy, we’ll now offer more protections for public figures like journalists and human rights defenders who have become famous involuntarily or because of their work. These groups will be protected from harmful content. For example, content that ranks them or their appearances, just like other involuntary public figures. The full list of protections for public figures, including involuntary public figures, can be found in our Community Standards.

Consulting Our Community and Global Stakeholders on These Changes

In updating our policies, we consulted a diverse set of global stakeholders including free speech advocates, human rights experts, women’s safety groups and our Women’s Safety Expert Advisors, cartoonists and satirists, female politicians and journalists, representatives of the LGBTIQ+ community, content creators and public figures. To ensure that our platforms are safe, we will continue to consult experts and listen to our community.

Our policies complement tools we’ve built in our apps to prevent, stop and report bullying and harassment online. These tools allow users to manage abusive or unwanted interactions, such as blocking someone on Facebook or Instagram or removing them from your friend list. To learn more about this work and the resources we’ve developed with experts to reduce this type of behavior online generally, visit our Bullying Prevention Hub on our Safety Center, developed in partnership with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.

To learn more about how these policy changes were developed, check out our Product Policy Forum Minutes:

Product Policy Forum Minutes: Definition of Public Figures
Product Policy Forum Minutes: Attacks of Public Figures
Product Policy Forum Minutes: Brigading and Mass Harassment

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