Facebook will treat journalists, activists as public figures to limit harassment and bullying

Embattled tech large Facebook will take into account activists and journalists “involuntary” public figures so as to restricted harassment and bullying in opposition to them on the social media platform, the corporate introduced on Wednesday. 

Facebook’s “bullying and harassment policy differentiates between public figures and private individuals to enable freedom of expression and legitimate public discourse around those in the public eye,” in accordance to Facebook Global Head of Safety Antigone Davis. 

“Public figures shouldn’t be subjected to degrading or sexualized attacks,” Davis added, noting that Facebook would now take away extreme sexualized content material, derogatory or sexualized photoshopped photos and drawings, assaults by means of damaging bodily descriptions, and degrading content material depicting people within the means of bodily features. 

The firm will alter the way in which it handles “involuntary” public figures together with activists and journalists to provide them extra safety going ahead.  

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“We also recognize that becoming a public figure isn’t always a choice, and that this fame can increase the risk of bullying and harassment — particularly if the person comes from an underrepresented community, including women, people of color or the LGBTQ community. Consistent with the commitments made in our corporate human rights policy, we’ll now offer more protections for public figures like journalists and human rights defenders who have become famous involuntarily or because of their work,” Davis wrote. 

“These groups will now have protections from harmful content, for example content that ranks their physical looks, as other involuntary public figures do,” Davis continued. “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.”

Facebook will decide who qualifies as an involuntary public determine on a case-by-case foundation by its coverage group. 

“The policy team will assess an involuntary public figure’s engagement with fame on a case-by-case basis, conducting analysis of social media presence (which may include things like high fan count, verification), or the person’s engagement with their fame through ongoing media engagements and public speaking,” a Facebook spokesperson informed Fox News. 

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When requested by Fox News how Facebook would outline journalists, a spokesperson supplied the next clarification. 

“A journalist is defined as someone who is currently employed by a newspaper, news website, or magazine to write publicly; OR someone who actively publishes content for a newspaper, news website, or magazine; OR someone who broadcasts news stories on radio or television; OR someone dedicated to writing or broadcasting news on social media/blog/website/podcast on a freelance basis,” the Facebook spokesperson stated. 

As for activists, Facebook considers them anybody “who is directly associated with a cause or civil society organization or someone who actively participates in political, human rights, or social discourse,” in accordance to the spokesperson. 

Facebook has been beneath a microscope in current weeks after whistleblower Frances Haugen blasted her former employer earlier than Congress and on “60 Minutes.” Haugen launched paperwork displaying what she referred to as proof the corporate places income earlier than consumer well-being by means of its algorithms. 

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Fox News’ David Rutz contributed to this report. 



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