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Facebook revamps its community standards, adds more clarity

There appears to be an increasing tweaking of guidelines by blogging and social platforms to protect their users. Twitter cracked down on trolls, Google’s Blogger on adult content and now Facebook is revamping its Community Standards.

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Facebook is not changing its guidelines or adding new ones, it is simply providing clarity and examples because according to it, there has been confusion around what they mean by nudity or hate speech. There has always been an imbalance between what Facebook Community Standards says and what it ultimately does.

In a joint statement by Monika Bickert, Head of Global Policy Management, and Chris Sonderby, Deputy General Counsel, the social network said that “The conversations that happen here mirror the diversity of the more than one billion people who use Facebook, with people discussing everything from pets to politics. Our goal is to give people a place to share and connect freely and openly, in a safe and secure environment.”

Facebook users can already report pages, profiles or individual pieces if the content upsets them or if they feel it violates Facebook Community Standards by clicking the “Report” on the top right hand corner. People can also unfollow, block or hide content and people they don’t want to see.

Facebook says that thought it sometimes removes and restricts access to content not necessarily because it violates its own community standards but because of the law in a particular country.

“In some countries, for example, it is against the law to share content regarded as being blasphemous. While blasphemy is not a violation of the Community Standards, we will still evaluate the reported content and restrict it in that country if we conclude it violates local law,” the statement reads.

Read more: Google’s on a quest to kill sexually explicit content on Blogger

These updated Community Standards, Facebook says, are mostly guidelines that address guarding oneself against self-injury, dangerous organisations, bullying and harassment, criminal activity, sexual violence and exploitation, nudity, hate speech, and violence and graphic content.

On the new guidelines, nudity is described in much more detail:

“We remove photographs of people displaying genitals or focusing in on fully exposed buttocks. We also restrict some images of female breasts if they include the nipple, but we always allow photos of women actively engaged in breastfeeding or showing breasts with post-mastectomy scarring.”

Facebook has come under fire before for removing photos of Bare Reality, a project that featured 100 women, their stories and their feelings exploring how women feel about their breasts. The ban was particularly interesting since Facebook appeared to have allowed a porn site to post more graphic photos.

Another interesting clarification in the new update is that ”We also allow photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depicts nude figures.” Just a few weeks ago, Facebook banned New York magazine art critic Jerry Saltz for posting images of medieval art and an update

Facebook also adds that it removes graphic images “when they are shared for sadistic pleasure or to celebrate or glorify violence.”

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