Its head of global security said in an interview this week that Facebook now treats activists and journalists as “involuntary” public figures, and therefore strengthens protections against harassment and bullying against these groups. The social media company allows more critical comments on public figures rather than private comments, and it is changing its methods of harassing journalists and “human rights defenders,” who are alleged to be on account of their work rather than the public. Characters in public view.

Facebook has been extensively scrutinized by lawmakers and regulators around the world for its content review practices and the harms associated with its platform. An internal document leaked by whistleblower formed the basis of a U.S. Senate hearing last week.

How Facebook, with approximately 2.8 billion monthly active users, treats public figures and content posted by or related to these figures has always been an area of ​​intense debate. In recent weeks, the company’s “cross-check” system has much attention. According to the Wall Street Journal, the system has the effect of exempting some well-known users from complying with Facebook’s regular rules.

Facebook also distinguishes between public figures and individuals in terms of the protection provided by online discussions: for example, users can often request the death of celebrities in discussions on the platform, as long as they do not mark or directly mention the celebrity. According to Facebook’s policy, they cannot demand the death of individuals or current reporters.

The company declined to share the list of other involuntary public figures, but said it would evaluate them on case-by-case basis. Earlier this year, Facebook said it would remove content celebrating, praising or mocking George Freud’s death because he was seen as an involuntary public figure.

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Antigone Davis, Facebook’s head of global security, said the company is also expanding the types of attacks against public figures that are not allowed on its website in order to reduce disproportionate proportions of women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community Part of the on the ground.

Facebook will no longer allow serious and unwelcome pornography, derogatory Photoshop images or drawings, or direct negative attacks on person’s appearance, for example, in comments on the profile of public figures.

© Thomson Reuters 2021