Facebook Reveals The Lengthy Rulebook It Uses To Remove Posts

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Facebook Credit Andrew Harrer Bloomberg
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25 April, 2018

Facebook is also rolling out a feature which will allow the users to request the removal of their posts or pictures from the platform.

If the second moderator thinks differently, the post will be restored. The company is also introducing a new appeals process, allowing users to request a review if they believe their post has been removed unfairly.

A couple of years ago, Facebook famously removed a post of the famous, Pulitzer Prize-winning photo showing a naked girl fleeing a napalm attack. But only a relatively brief and general version was publicly available, while it had a far more detailed internal document to decide when individual posts or accounts should be removed.

Other banned topics include anything (or anyone) who's promoting or publicizing crime or trying to coordinate harm.

"These are issues in the real world", said Monika Bickert, head of global policy management at Facebook, in an interview with reporters.

It's all part of Facebook's attempt to better control - and do so more transparently - what's going on across the site, particularly in the wake of controversies around its involvement in the 2016 USA presidential election. This is our way of saying these things are not tolerated.

"We've made significant strides finding and removing their propaganda quickly and at scale", Bickert and Fishman said.

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The third subject area is "objectionable content".

It gives users a better understanding of the nuances reviewers must recognize to make correct decisions on content that may not be clearly defined in the rules.

Videos of people wounded by cannibalism are not permitted, for instance, but such imagery is allowed with a warning screen if it is "in a medical setting".

The social network has been caught up in a whirlwind of controversy since the start of the year. Bickert said Facebook's recent privacy travails, which forced CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify for 10 hours before Congress, didn't prompt their release now. Facebook has never revealed direct guidelines that are used by moderators to stop harassment, spam, violence, etc. Zuckerberg said he is concerned about the problem and is actively working to rid its review process of political bias. In March, the United Nations blamed Facebook for spreading hatred of the Rohingya minority.

Facebook has announced a pilot third-party fact-checking program in India's Karnataka state, to fight the spread of fake news. Some say Facebook isn't doing enough to remove harmful content. Others say Facebook is quickly becoming the world's largest and most unsafe censor.

The company has chose to employ 10,000 additional safety, security and product and community operation employees to their team before the year is up, with weekly audits reviewing various decisions meant to refine any taken or considered steps and internal choices. It conducts weekly audits to review its decisions but recognizes mistakes are inevitable.

"What's changing is the level of explanation about how we apply those policies", Bickert said. Where such intent is clear, we make allowances for the content. "We make mistakes because our processes involve people, and people are not infallible". "I hope we are moving in that direction". "This is not a self-congratulatory exercise. We know that sometimes people share nude images of their own children with good intentions; however, we generally remove these images because of the potential for abuse by others and to help avoid the possibility of other people reusing or misappropriating the images", Facebook says. "And we want to hear about that, so we can build that into our process". Nearly a year later, Facebook is making an expanded set of those guidelines available to the public, a move created to gather input from users around the world.


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