Facebook Publishes Comprehensive Internal Enforcement Guidelines & Provides Clarity on Prohibited Content

We’ve spoken many a time recently about all the criticism directed at Facebook, not only in regards to user privacy, data handling and all the hot-topic subjects of the moment, but also their long-running battle to find the right balance in regards to what content should and should not be allowed on the site. All too many times Facebook have ended up in the headlines for failing to remove hateful, extremist or otherwise inappropriate content, and the same is also true of the reverse; the company are just as often accused of over-censoring the platform and removing content that in no way violates their terms.

In an effort to alleviate this issue once and for all, Facebook have provided further clarity on the policing process used to decide what’s allowed on Facebook by publishing the internal guidelines used to enforce their Community Standards.

Monika Bickert, VP of Global Product Management at Facebook, explained the reasoning behind the guidelines’ publication, writing in the official announcement, “We decided to publish these internal guidelines for two reasons. First, the guidelines will help people understand where we draw the line on nuanced issues. Second, providing these details makes it easier for everyone, including experts in different fields, to give us feedback so that we can improve the guidelines - and the decisions we make - over time.”

In addition, Facebook are also making it easier to appeal a decision when you feel that content has been mistakenly removed for nudity/sexual activity, hate speech or graphic violence when no violations were in fact made. Basically if your photo, video or post has been removed because it violates Community Standards, you will be notified and given the option to request additional review. This will lead to a manually-conducted review of the content in question and if a mistake is then deemed to have been made, you will again be notified of this and the removed content will be restored.

“We are working to extend this process further by supporting more violation types, giving people the opportunity to provide more context that could help us make the right decision, and making appeals available not just for content that was taken down, but also for content that was reported and left up. ,” Ms Bickert explains, “We believe giving people a voice in the process is another essential component of building a fair system.”

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