Facebook has announced updates to its bullying and harassment policies with the aim to protect people better on the apps. Let’s have a look at Facebook’s advancement on the policies of Online Bullying and Harassment.

Online Bullying and Harassment
Source: Facebook

It’s important that everyone on our apps feels safe to engage and connect with their communities. We do not allow bullying and harassment on our platform, but when it does happen, we act. We remove content that violates our policies and disable the accounts of people who repeatedly break our rules. We also regularly pressure test these policies with our safety experts, making changes as needed.” says Facebook in their newsroom.

Combating Coordinated Mass Harassment

Facebook has launched a new policy which helps protect people from mass harassment and intimidation from multiple accounts. Facebook says that it will remove coordinated efforts of mass harassment which are targeted at individuals with an increased risk of offline harm. Furthermore, it will also remove objectionable content that is considered mass harassment towards any individual on personal surfaces, such as direct messages in inbox or comments on personal profiles or posts. In order to put this new policy into effect, Facebook will require additional information or context before finally proceeding ahead.

In addition to the above, Facebook will also remove state-linked and adversarial networks of accounts, Pages and Groups that work together to harass or silence people.

More Protections for Public Figures

Public Figures use Facebook and Instagram to engage with their followers. Facebook is trying to strike the right balance between protecting them from abuse and allowing open dialogue about them on all the apps. Based on feedback Facebook has received from a large number of global stakeholders, they will now also remove:

  • Severe sexualizing content
  • Profiles, Pages, groups or events dedicated to sexualizing the public figure
  • Derogatory, sexualized photoshopped images and drawings
  • Attacks through negative physical descriptions that are tagged to, mention or posted on the public figure’s account
  • Degrading content depicting individuals in the process of bodily functions

Facebook says that it has made these changes because attacks like these can weaponize a public figure’s appearance, which is unnecessary and often not related to the work these public figures represent.

Consulting The Community and Global Stakeholders on These Changes

In updating our policies, we consulted a diverse set of global stakeholders including free speech advocates, human rights experts, women’s safety groups and our Women’s Safety Expert Advisors, cartoonists and satirists, female politicians and journalists, representatives of the LGBTIQ+ community, content creators and public figures. We will continue to work with experts and listen to members of our community to ensure our platforms remain safe.” says Facebook.

Facebook believes that its policies complement tools that have been built in the apps to prevent, stop and report bullying and harassment online. These tools are a way of empowering people to manage unwanted or abusive interactions online like blocking someone on both Facebook and Instagram. To know more about Facebook’s work and the resources which it has developed, check out Bullying Prevention Hub.