Facebook releases its complete guidelines for policing content

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park California

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park California

It will not make all of its moderator guides public, such as lists of hate-speech words, as releasing them could make it easier for people to game the system. "We want to help people stay informed without stifling productive public discourse".

"We chose to publish these internal guidelines for two reasons". "You should, when you come to Facebook, understand where we draw these lines and what's OK and what's not OK", Bickert told reporters in a briefing at Facebook's headquarters. "But it still calls these standards "community standards" as if Facebook constitutes a community". We have people in 11 offices around the world, including subject matter experts on issues such as hate speech, child safety and terrorism.

Facebook has been criticised heavily in recent weeks, with the company's founder Mark Zuckerberg forced to apologise to U.S. politicians over the Cambridge Analytica data mining scandal.

Facebook also says, "It's important to note that our standards do evolve". (You don't have to use your real name on Instagram, for one.) The underlying policies haven't changed, Bickert said, though they now include extra guidance on making decisions.

It's a hard job because Facebook aims to create a safe place for people to connect with each other while also policing the speech.

But the document leaves out the kind of specific examples of policy enforcement that the Guardian published in the Facebook Files. Technology can help here.

Being more open about its content moderation strategy and similar processes may earn Facebook more support, yet new details about why and how it removes certain content will also likely open up more opportunities for user scrutiny.

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.

The section on Objectionable Content may be of interest to many folks.

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Another challenge faced by Facebook is applying its policies relevantly to the flagged contents. On Tuesday the company for the first time published the 27-page guidelines, called Community Standards, that it gives to its workforce of thousands of human censors. More often than not, however, we make mistakes because our processes involve people, and people are fallible.

"We want people to know our standards and we want to give people clarity", Bickert, said, adding that she hoped publishing the guidelines would spark dialogue. "That's why, over the coming year, we are going to build out the ability for people to appeal our decisions".

The social network said it would initially allow appeals for content that were removed for nudity or sexual activity, hate speech or graphic violence.

In those cases, Bickert said, formal written requests are required and are reviewed by Facebook's legal team and outside attorneys.

Users will get a message explaining why the post was taken down and can follow a link to request a review, which will be handled by a team member "typically within 24 hours".

On nudity - an area where Facebook users might feel the company has been inconsistent on its enforcement - the standards prohibit posts that show sexual intercourse, genitalia, erections, exposed female nipples "except in the context of breastfeeding, birth giving and after-birth moments, health (for example, post-mastectomy, breast cancer awareness, or gender confirmation surgery), or an act of protest".

"We believe giving people a voice in the process is another essential component of building a fair system", she added.

In May, Facebook will launch "Facebook Forums: Community Standards" in Germany, France, the U.K., India, Singapore, and the U.S.to ask for feedback about community standards directly from users. We will share more details about these initiatives as we finalize them.

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