According to an analysis by Forbes, Facebook announced on Wednesday that it will remove content that targets public officials who are “at risk” of self-harm, calling it a move following comments from “a large number of global stakeholders.
It began with the following statement: “[w]e 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.”
It went onto to insist that “[w]Also, e will remove any objectionable material that could be considered harassment against anyone on personal surfaces such as direct messages to inbox, comments on posts or profiles and direct messages. We will require additional information or context to enforce this new policy.”
Facebook will also remove “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.”
Facebook has been criticized by celebrities like Kim Kardashian West and Sacha Baron Cohen have also spoken out about Facebook’s failure to stop hate speech, and boycotted Facebook last year with the hashtag #StopHateForProfit.
Climate change activist Greta Thunberg threatened to leave the platform in 2019 due to bullying and hate speech, which she said were “very upsetting.”
The platform will remove content that “sexualizes” or “degrades” politicians and celebrities. It is unclear what their parameters will be:
Public figures — whether they’re politicians, journalists, celebrities or creators — use Facebook and Instagram to engage directly with their followers…Our bullying and harassment policy differentiates between public figures and private individuals to enable freedom of expression and legitimate public discourse around those in the public eye…Public figures shouldn’t be subjected to degrading or sexualized attacks.
Last week, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen argued the platform cares about money over people, and called for more government regulation to censor “misinformation.”
“Facebook, over and over again, has shown it chooses profit over safety,” Haugen said.
“No one at Facebook is malevolent,” she added. “But the incentives are misaligned, right? Facebook earns more money by consuming more content. Emotional responses are what attract people to engage with. And the more anger that they get exposed to, the more they interact and the more they consume.”
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