Facebook adopts new policies to tackle harassment of public figures
- Facebook said the policy was created to prevent coordinated mass attacks against public figures.
- New content violations such as “serious sexual content” have been added to Facebook’s harassment policy.
- The platform consulted with free speech advocates, politicians and other stakeholders on politics.
A week after the scathing congressional testimony of whistleblower Frances Haugen, Facebook announced on Wednesday that it would expand its current harassment policies to better protect public figures, such as politicians, journalists, human rights defenders and celebrities .
According to Facebook, the extension of the policy would remove any “objectionable content” targeting public figures, including posts, direct messages, comments, account networks and private pages or groups coordinating the mass post.
“We always try to find the right balance between protecting them from abuse and allowing an open dialogue about them on our apps. Our policy of intimidation and harassment distinguishes between public figures and individuals to allow free speech and legitimate public speech around those in the public eye, ”Facebook said in a press release Wednesday.
The comments led the company to add several new content violations to its existing harassment policy, including:
- Highly sexual content
- Profiles, pages, groups or events dedicated to the sexualization of public figures
- Derogatory and sexualized photoshopped images and drawings
- Attacks through negative physical descriptions that are tagged, mentioned or posted on behalf of the public figure
- Degrading content describing individuals in the process of bodily functions
Facebook said in its announcement that it had consulted with free speech advocates, human rights experts, women’s safety groups, politicians, journalists, content creators and others. stakeholders when drafting the policy extension. The platform’s full list of protections for public figures is outlined in its Community Standards.