Facebook is expanding its policies against bullying and harassment. The focus is on sexual content and vilification directed against prominent people. This also includes coordinated harassment of individual users, whether they are widely known or not. Corresponding Facebook profiles, groups, pages or events should be deleted immediately.
The occasion for the introduction of the new rules is the “National Day for the Prevention and Education of Bullying” in the USA yesterday, like Facebook in their own blog writes. The social network now wants to protect its users more strongly from mass harassment and intimidation. It is not only about celebrities known from radio and television, but also about people who have achieved a higher level of awareness due to their activities. These include, for example, journalists, dissidents and defenders of human rights.
A sexual representation or denigration could affect the impression of a person in public life and be used as a weapon against them, says Facebook. From now on, it wants to remove “unwanted sexualized comments” and repeated attacks that sexually harass a person. Since “undesirable” is a subjective assessment, Facebook wants to rely on additional context of the person who is experiencing this abuse.
Facebook in October: total failure and open criticism
Facebook was recently in the headlines not only because of its own total failure, which also affected the daughters Instagram and WhatsApp. The ex-employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen clearly criticized Facebook at a hearing in the US parliament. According to this, Facebook is “incompatible with democracy” because the company always puts profit above the common good. At the same time, there is a lack of transparency, for example with regard to the composition of the news feed. Algorithms decide on the basis of comments, likes and dissemination who gets what on Facebook and Instagram. Whether a comment is friendly, hateful or bullying is irrelevant for the rating.
The now expanded Facebook Bullying and Harassment Policy also include targeting adult or underage individuals. Targeted insults, claims about love relationships, sexual orientation or gender identity, negative claims about character or abilities as well as expressions of contempt or disgust are prohibited. For adults, however, a self-report is required so that one of the 15,000 or so Facebook censors can accept this content.