“This post violates our community guidelines.” A prompt many people have experienced on our ‘favourite’ social media platform. These guidelines and policies have changed, and the enforcement thereof will soon be adapted and optimised by the Facebook Community Operations team.
This week the embattled social media company decided to publish their internal guidelines, used to enforce community standards online for users to access. The idea behind this is that people will now have a clear understanding (provided they read through the guidelines) as to why certain posts are taken down and why others aren’t.
Facebook want users to understand that each reported post is scrutinised, not by a computerised system or algorithm, but by actual human beings. These reports are reviewed by their Community Operations team compiled of over 7,500 professional reviewers, in over 40 languages.
Older posts that have been reported will be re-evaluated by this team to make sure they haven’t missed any obvious flags that violate their guidelines, including hate speech, nudity or sexual acts and terrorism. If you have reported something in the past that hasn’t been dealt with, Facebook will likely contact you and send the post for re-evaluation just to make sure.
“Our policies are only as good as the strength and accuracy of our enforcement – and our enforcement isn’t perfect.” Facebook acknowledges the fact that a few reports may slip through the cracks because of human error, which is a given when working with people and not machines. They plan on streamlining the enforcement of their guidelines, and the first step is giving users access to their guidelines.
In May, they will launch Facebook Forums: Community Standards, which is a series of public events in Germany, France, the UK, India, Singapore, the US and other countries to find out what the public feels about their policies and enforcement thereof. Hopefully they will reach a consensus in dealing with people’s content in a fair and democratic manner, while also not infringing on free speech.
Although Facebook has come under fire from all directions, it seems like they really are trying to be as transparent as possible on all accounts. Let’s see where this will lead. At the very least, we all have some ‘light’ reading to do today.