Facebook is easing the censorship of graphic content on its site to accommodate newsworthy posts that would normally be considered a violation of its policies.
The move comes after much criticism about the social networks very strict policies that kept a Pulitzer-prize winning photo of a naked girl fleeing napalm bombs during the Vietnam War from being posted on the social network. It was originally flagged as being “inappropriate.”
Facebook did eventually allow shares of the photo, but only after receiving a lot of complaints from the public and the media alike.
The reaction must have been food for thought, because Facebook has rethought its very strict Community Standards.
“In the weeks ahead, we’re going to begin allowing more items that people find newsworthy, significant, or important to the public interest — even if they might otherwise violate our standards,” Facebook vice-president of global public policy Joel Kaplan and Facebook vice-president of global operations & media partnerships Justin Osofsky wrote in a blog post.
“We will work with our community and partners to explore exactly how to do this, both through new tools and approaches to enforcement. 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.”
They said Facebook would be working with experts, publishers, journalists, photographers, law enforcement officials and safety advocates to determine what types of graphic content should be allowed on the social network.
But why does Facebook need so much help in deciding what is appropriate? According to Kaplan and Osofsky, getting it right for all users across the globe is no easy task.
“Observing global standards for our community is complex,” they wrote. “Whether an image is newsworthy or historically significant is highly subjective. Images of nudity or violence that are acceptable in one part of the world may be offensive — or even illegal — in another. Respecting local norms and upholding global practices often come into conflict. And people often disagree about what standards should be in place to ensure a community that is both safe and open to expression.”
Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.
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