Photo by Metro Weekly
Facebook is constantly receiving flack for it’s settings, policies and regulations. However, that doesn’t stop their 1.86 billion monthly active users, according to statistics from January 2017.
Taken straight from Facebook, its policies list, “removing hate speech, which includes content that directly attacks people based on their: race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity, or serious disabilities or diseases.” They claim that they do follow up to protect communities such as LGBTQI. How? They want and expect users to report these comments.
They do allow SOME of hateful discussions, ONLY if the person sharing them states their intentions- which should be to raise awareness and educate people about hate speech.
Facebook is also known for using algorithms to take down content that goes against their policies. Because of the use of robots/computers, it’s hard to be able to tell the context of online interactions. Facebook even addresses (under their Hate Speech Policy) that they “allow humor, satire, or social commentary related to these topics, and we believe that when people use their authentic identity, they are more responsible when they share this kind of commentary.” As the public, we like this because it allows our freedom of speech. However, this may just blur the line between making bisexual jokes to your friend online versus coming off homophobic to the bots. While computers can detect such hate speech from using algorithms, it would be more effective if actual people always doubled and triple checked for mistakes.
In regards to threats, Facebook states, “we carefully review reports of threatening language to identify serious threats of harm to public and personal safety. We remove credible threats of physical harm to individuals.”
Facebook also says, “We don’t tolerate bullying or harassment. We allow you to speak freely on matters and people of public interest, but remove content that appears to purposefully target private individuals with the intention of degrading or shaming them. This content includes, but is not limited to:
- Pages that identify and shame private individuals,
- Images altered to degrade private individuals,
- Photos or videos of physical bullying posted to shame the victim,
- Sharing personal information to blackmail or harass people, and
- Repeatedly targeting other people with unwanted friend requests or messages.
Lastly, according to Metro Weekly, Facebook users can now select their gender as either male, female, or a third customizable option which includes 50 new terms that hopefully will satisfy members of the LGBTQI community.
The fact that Facebook has created policies to take down posts involving hate speech, bullying, harassment and threats seems to be showing that they are actively protecting a variety of communities. How often they take action and how correctly they are may be a different story. All in all, I feel that Facebook has good intentions- they want everyone to be able to have free speech but to a certain and safe extent. They are looking for a fun and friendly environment, and unfortunately, not everyone is going to be respectful of online communities such as LGBTQI, disable, women or even minors. Problems will arise, but this is why Facebook is addressing their laws and regulations as well as monitoring it’s users.