Facebook will introduce new privacy policies to protect users from harassment and intimidation on the network, especially for accounts of personalities, politicians or digital influencers with a high risk of harm to the online environment. According to the Head of Security of the Facebook, Antigone Davis, the company wants to bring down “cancellation” campaigns or coordinated attacks on certain individuals, even if the content does not violate security guidelines.
As Davis explained, the social network will remove threatening texts or videos in any format, whether direct messages, comments or posts, including pages and other tools associated with the act of harassment. A typical example of this situation occurred during the Big Brother Brazil program, when participant Karol Conká was bombarded by threatening messages on Instagram because of her attitudes within the reality show.
Along the same lines, Facebook also intends to remove profiles, pages and groups dedicated to sexualizing public individuals, such as artists or celebrities, which includes false associations, illustrations and photomontages that attack the honor of these people. This may be a measure that will give work to the platform’s teams during electoral periods, when female candidates are usually the target of macho campaigns on the web.
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This kind of virtual attack can be lethal for a lot of people, but it’s even more worrying for public figures, as they depend on their image to survive. In most cases, attacks are coordinated by factors that have nothing to do with the person’s work, which is even more serious. Facebook also intends to add extra protections for individuals who have become famous involuntarily or suddenly, such as journalists, activists or people connected to famous people.
Facebook pressured for change
This is all part of the pressure the platform is under to take more active action in combating bullying and harassment across all of its applications. The social network was the subject of a series of articles from the Wall Street Journal that focused on internal research that revealed harmful impacts of Instagram on the way teenagers see their own bodies. The criticism would be because Facebook knew of the negative results, but would not have done anything to combat them, which led the company to cancel a “Kids” version of Insta.
In addition to this fact, it is quite common for cases of racism or mass cancellations to take on profiles of disaffection, as occurred after the final of Euro 2020, when three black players from the English team were victims of a wave of racist attacks after the defeat by Italy. At the time, Instagram boss Adam Mosseri promised new features aimed at protecting all users.
Last week, Instagram said it would issue an alert whenever the teenager spent too much time in front of the app. In July, mechanisms were introduced to avoid unwanted messages on Direct or comments from strangers on youth profiles.
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