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 from public figures than private individuals, says it is changing its perspective on harassment of journalists and “human rights defenders” who it says are more critical of their work than they do. are in the eyes of the people. his public persona.
Facebook is under widespread scrutiny from global lawmakers and regulators about its content moderation practices and the pitfalls associated with its platforms after leaked internal documents set the ground 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 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 protections it provides around online discussions: for example, users are generally allowed to call for the death of a celebrity in discussions on the platform.
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.
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