For the past year, Facebook has been under repetitive questioning for its censorship and content removal policies around the globe. The social media behemoth itself doesn’t seem to have a clear stance and keeps updating the same to reflect relevant changes from time to time. Its practices are yet again under fire from over 70 rights groups who’ve asked Facebook to clarify policies on content removal, reports Reuters.
These right groups in written a letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg have openly criticized the company’s outlook towards certain cases and content that document human right violations. It would include content deletion involving iconic Vietnam war imagery(with a naked girl fleeing a napalm attack), police brutality, and removal of Palestinian content among others. The company has recently also been criticized for suppressing important news pieces from Trending Topics section of the news feed.
News is not just getting shared on Facebook: it’s getting broken there. When the most vulnerable members of society turn to your platform to document and share experiences of injustice, Facebook is morally obligated to protect that speech.
reads the letter.
For those unaware, Facebook has already taken community suggestions into account and introduced a pretty major change to its community guidelines a couple weeks ago. In this change, Facebook states that it is complex to observe and judge what deems as a fit from one society to another. Thus, it will allow more graphic and explicit posts if they are deemed ‘newsworthy, significant, or important to the public interest’ to live on the platform. It will not care of its community guidelines under such instances.
It has also been reported that an elite group of at least five senior executives, including COO Sheryl Sandberg, have been regularly directing content policy changes and making editorial judgment calls at Facebook. Such is the case in most high-profile controversies surfacing on the social media platform.
In addition, Patrick Walker, Facebook’s director of media partnership for Asia-Pacific region says that the company is also working on improving the escalation process. This will enable controversial stories and images to surface and gain traction on the platform more quickly. Facebook is currently on the verge of further detailing and implementing these guideline changes.