March 20, 2018

Facebook's secret guidance on graphic content leaked

22 May 2017, 05:49 | Rex Hubbard

Leak reveals Facebook's rules for controversial content

Facebook rules reportedly allow livestreaming of self-harm

The secret rules guiding the 2-billion-member social-media site's content address how users are allowed to talk about topics from violence to self-harm to animal cruelty, The Guardian newspaper reported.

However, Facebook moderators are said to have concerns over points related to sexual content, as it is found to be "complex" and "confusing", Guardian added.

As well as human moderators that look over possibly contentious posts, Facebook is also known to use AI-derived algorithms to review images and other information before they are posted. Due to the size of the network, Facebook will often take a few hours - with the assistance of reports - to take down unacceptable footage and to help shoulder this task, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has promised to hire an additional 3,000 people on top of 4,500 members of staff already monitoring livestreams and video uploads.

This particular document opens with a brief explainer, which outlines how Facebook aims to allow as much speech as possible but draw the line at content that could credibly cause real world harm. What constitutes as revenge porn has been codified, threats of violence have a classification system - credible and generic/non-credible - and it investigates up to 6.5 million accounts a week to determine whether they are fake, malicious accounts. It specifies that "aspirational violence" like threatening to "beat up fat kids" is still okay, versus, say, writing "someone shoot Trump".

Woakes hopes to carry IPL form into Champions Trophy bid
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The leak comes at a sensitive time for Facebook, which has faced pressure to explain why some content; such as video of a man killing his daughter and the suicide of a 12-year-old girl live-streamed on - the latter of which remained viewable for close to a fortnight - while identical footage on YouTube was removed nearly immediately.

The latter will be deleted because as a head of state Trump is in a protected category. But a comment such as: "To snap a b--'s neck, make sure to apple all your pressure to the middle of her throat", is acceptable because it is not seen as a credible threat. Some of them are amusing, some are thought-provoking, some are educational, and some are just controversial in nature, whether it be religious extremism, racist tirades, violent threats, or sexual content, so the question is, how does Facebook deal with such videos?

Meanwhile, "handmade" art showing nudity and sexual activity is permissible, but digitally-created art showing sexual activity is not. "We will continue to invest in proactively keeping the site safe, but we also want to empower people to report to us any content that breaches our standards".

- Some extremely disturbing imagery may be "marked as disturbing."
Like sadist posts mentioned above, photos and videos documenting animal abuse is allowed, if only to raise awareness.

Facebook told the Guardian that it's hard to reach a consensus for a service with almost 2 billion users. Images of non-sexual physical abuse and bullying of children are permitted so long as they are not sadistic or celebratory.

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