Social Media

Facebook to Update Community Standards

The popular social media company Facebook has now revealed that it will be soon updating its community standards to be clearer about how it handles satirical content. The decision comes following a recommendation from its Oversight Board.

The company said in a blog post, “We’ll add information to the Community Standards that makes it clear where we consider satire as part of our assessment of context-specific decisions. This change will allow teams to consider satire when assessing potential Hate Speech violations.”

The OverSight Board had made various recommendations related to the social media major’s assessment of satirical content after it determined that Facebook was wrong to remove a user’s comment referencing the Turkish Government, based on a meme

The update comes after the Oversight Board determined that Facebook was wrong to remove a user’s comment with a reference to the Turkish government, based on the two buttons meme. The Oversight Board described it:

“This meme featured the same split-screen cartoon from the original meme, but with the cartoon character’s face substituted for a Turkish flag. The cartoon character has their right hand on their head and appears to be sweating. Above the cartoon character, in the other half of the split-screen, there are two red buttons with corresponding labels, in English: “The Armenian Genocide is a lie” and “The Armenians were terrorists who deserved it.” The meme was preceded and followed by “thinking face” emoji.”

Facebook removed the post, citing its Cruel and Insensitive Community Standard, which says it will remove posts that target “victims of serious physical or emotional harm,” which includes the use of memes and gifs. Facebook later reclassified the removal so it fell under its Hate Speech Community Standard.

The meme had been removed for violating its policy on hate speech, as laid out in the Facebook Community Standards. “We do not allow hate speech on Facebook, even in the context of satire, because it creates an environment of intimidation and exclusion, and in some cases, may promote real-world violence,” Facebook had said.

The Oversight Board, in its decision, pointed out that while Facebook makes certain exceptions for satire in some cases, what qualifies as satire has not been clearly communicated to users in its guidelines under the Hate Speech Community Standard.

This marks the latest instance of Facebook following the guidance of its fledgling Oversight Board. Earlier this month, Facebook said would end its so-called “newsworthiness” policy, which allowed politicians to skirt many of its content rules. Going forward the company “will not treat content posted by politicians any differently from content posted by anyone else,” Facebook’s Nick Clegg said in a blog post.


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