Facebook announced on Wednesday, October 13 that it will be updating its bullying and harassment policies to better protect the people using its apps.
Antigone Davis, Facebook’s Global Head of Safety, said that the social media giant wanted to remove harmful content that attacks public figures and aimed to protect human rights defenders, journalists, and other public figures.
“It’s important that everyone on our apps feels safe to engage and connect with their communities. We do not allow bullying and harassment on our platform, but when it does happen, we act. We remove content that violates our policies and disable the accounts of people who repeatedly break our rules. We also regularly pressure test these policies with our safety experts, making changes as needed,” Davis said.
The new upgrade consisted of the removal of more harmful content that attacks public figures, human rights defenders, and journalists and a new policy to help protect people from mass harassment and intimidation.
“We will now remove coordinated efforts of mass harassment that target individuals at heightened risk of offline harm, for example victims of violent tragedies or government dissidents — even if the content on its own wouldn’t violate our policies,” Davies exclaimed.
Facebook has also targeted to remove state-linked and adversarial networks of accounts, Pages and Groups that work together to harass or silence people.
Moreover, the social media company is also after the removal of unwanted sexualized commentary and repeated content that is sexually harassing against politicians, journalists, celebrities, or creators.
Davis emphasized that they made such changes because they firmly believed that attacks like these can weaponize a public figure’s appearance, which is unnecessary and often not related to the work these public figures 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,” Davis added.
Upon the plans of updating the said policies, Facebook revealed that they 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.
“We will continue to work with experts and listen to members of our community to ensure our platforms remain safe,” the statement concluded.
Facebook disclosed how the policy changes were developed through their Product Policy Forum Minutes. To know more about the upgrade, check the following links: