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Facebook will change the rules for attacking public figures on its platform

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Facebook will now count activists and journalists as “involuntary” public figures and therefore increase protections against harassment and bullying targeted at these groups, its global security chief said in an interview this week. The social media company, which allows more critical commentary of public figures than private individuals, is changing its perspective on harassment of journalists and “human rights defenders” who say they are hurting people because of their work rather than the public. are in sight. Persona

Facebook is under widespread scrutiny from global lawmakers and regulators over its content moderation practices and the harms associated with its platforms, after internal documents were leaked by a whistleblower that formed the basis for a US Senate hearing last week.

How Facebook, which has about 2.8 billion monthly active users, treats public figures, and the content posted by or about those figures, has been an area of ​​intense debate. In recent weeks, the company’s “cross check” system, which the Wall Street Journal reported, has the effect of exempting some high-profile users from normal Facebook rules, has been in the news.

Facebook distinguishes between public figures and private individuals in the protection it provides around online discussion: for example, users are typically allowed to call for the death of a celebrity in a discussion on the platform, Unless they tag or directly mention the celebrity. They cannot call for the death of a private individual or now a journalist under Facebook’s policies.

The company declined to share a list of other involuntary public figures, but said they are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Earlier this year, Facebook said it would remove content celebrating, praising or mocking George Floyd’s death because he was considered an involuntary public figure.

Facebook’s global head of safety Antigone Davis said the company is also expanding the types of attacks it will not allow on public figures on its sites, reducing attacks by women, people of color and the LGBTQ community. under attempt to.

Facebook will no longer allow serious and unwanted sexual content, abusive sexually photoshopped images or images or direct negative attacks on a person’s appearance, for example, in comments on a public person’s profile.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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