Facebook updates its privacy practices to protect against mass harassment, attacks on public figures, and mass hate speech
Facebook is making changes to its harassment and bullying policies to protect people who are experiencing online abuse, as hate and harassment remain issues on many social media sites.
Even if the content doesn't violate other policies, the company says it will delete targeted, coordinated efforts at mass harassment unless there's a risk of harm offline against anyone. Facebook will also delete any content, including direct messages, comments, and posts. The revised policy includes the elimination of Groups and Pages that work together to harass or bully anyone.
The changes were announced on Wednesday, which is also National Bullying Prevention and Awareness Day.
An anti-Defamation League survey released in March revealed that about 41% of Americans said they experienced some form of online hate and harassment, while 21% said that they faced "severe online harassment" such as stalking, physical threats, or doxing. According to the study, Facebook-based harassment was the site with the most complaints, followed by Twitter, Instagram, and Google-owned YouTube.
"It's crucial that everyone who uses our apps feels secure in their ability to interact and communicate with their communities." "We do not tolerate bullying and harassment on our platform, but we do act when it does," Antigone Davis, Facebook's worldwide security manager, stated in a news release.
Facebook met with global stakeholders, including female politicians, LGBTQ individuals, and content creators, to determine the updates.
Facebook's changes are expected to provide more protection to public figures and those who involuntarily became public characters, such as human rights advocates and journalists, as well as increase privacy for those with disabilities and individuals who have inadvertently become public figure. Facebook will delete "degrading or sexualized attacks" on public figures, including profiles, pages, groups, and images that sexualize them. Unwanted comments may be removed at the individual's request.
The firm stated that it will continue to make changes to its procedures as needed. It has also been looking for ways to decrease harassment on its other platforms. Instagram began testing a new Limits feature earlier this summer, which allows users to temporarily pause activities if they feel harassed or targeted.