Whenever we talk about content censorship on the Internet, Facebook is definitely everyone’s favorite topic of discussion. The social media giant is widely recognized for unnecessarily censoring content and then covering up for the same. But, it now seems to be aware of the agitation due to this widespread criticism and hence is introducing some major changes to its community guidelines.
Observing global standards for our community is complex. Whether an image is newsworthy or historically significant is highly subjective,
says Joel Kaplan, VP Global Public Policy.
Thus, Facebook will begin to allow more graphic and explicit posts if they are deemed ‘newsworthy, significant, or important to the public interest.’ The social media giant says that it will not care of its community guidelines under such instances, and allow the content to live on the platform. This important step has been taken to uphold global practices and maintain respect for local norms and public opinion.
Over the past couple months, Facebook has received immense backlash for censorship of content on its social media platform. The company was recently criticized for temporarily taking down the historic Vietnam War photo often referred to as ‘Napalm Girl’. This photograph showcases a nude Vietnamese girl crying and running on the street during the war.
Yesterday, the company also censored a video from Swedish Cancer Society that spread awareness about breast cancer. Facebook has since restored the content and apologized for the same. Within a day of this mishap, it has also updated its community guidelines to include ‘newsworthy’ graphic content.
There are currently very sparse details on how Facebook plans to save itself from future controversies over deleted content. It is currently unsure on how to enforce this change but plans to work with its community and partners to come up with new tools and an improved outlook.
Our intent is to allow more images and stories without posing safety risks or showing graphic images to minors and others who do not want to see them.
As always, our goal is to channel our community’s values, and to make sure our policies reflect our community’s interests,
adds Kaplan in the blog post.
Even though Facebook itself is not sure of the implementation of this policy, it has still announced the change to partly reduce its headache in terms of censorship. It possibly is a step in the right direction, but will Facebook still be able to judge the content to censor or will it just mess up like it did with Trending stories and its human editors.