Just how subjective is Facebook's new "explicit content" policy? We have an idea:
Bottom Line: Anytime we're talking about censorship, there will be a lot of strong feelings. Anytime we're talking about censoring the largest social platform that has been involved in numerous "fake news" and biased news scandals within the past year it's going to be a huge deal. Facebook has managed to remain the dominate social platform despite the scandal with it's original "newsfeed" team - that led to the dissolving of it. The automating of feeds with an admitted biased algorithmic prioritization. Since then we'd have rapes, suicides and any number of other nefarious behavior play out on Facebook Live.
Still Facebook leads on through all of it's foibles as it's attempting to find a way to mange all of these issues on an incredibly large scale (nearly 2 billion active users worldwide). The Guardian claims to have the most recent guidance for Facebook moderators to use to censure the platform and they include:
- Remarks such as “Someone shoot Trump” should be deleted, because as a head of state he is in a protected category. But it can be permissible to say: “To snap a bitch’s neck, make sure to apply all your pressure to the middle of her throat”, or “f--- off and die” because they are not regarded as credible threats.
- Videos of violent deaths, while marked as disturbing, do not always have to be deleted because they can help create awareness of issues such as mental illness.
- Some photos of non-sexual physical abuse and bullying of children do not have to be deleted or “actioned” unless there is a sadistic or celebratory element.
- Photos of animal abuse can be shared, with only extremely upsetting imagery to be marked as “disturbing”.
- All “handmade” art showing nudity and sexual activity is allowed but digitally made art showing sexual activity is not.
- Videos of abortions are allowed, as long as there is no nudity.
- Facebook will allow people to livestream attempts to self-harm because it “doesn’t want to censor or punish people in distress”.
- Anyone with more than 100,000 followers on a social media platform is designated as a public figure – which denies them the full protections given to private individuals.
Sounds like an awful lot of room for individual subjectively doesn't it? The real takeaway for me in all of this is that the more Facebook attempts to "fix" it's issues the more it creates potential new ones based on individual bias, interpretation and/or inability to react in a timely way. The question is if the future will look a lot like the past and Facebook will be forgiven because it's where everyone else already is...