Facebook Vows To Review Censoship Policies After Pressure From Women’s Rights Groups

Facebook has admitted that it has been slightly off the pace when it comes to how and when it censors content on the social network, adding that changes will be rolled out immediately. In a blog post, the social network said that the current practices for dealing with “controversial, harmful and hateful” content are not effective, adding that “we need to do better – and we will.”

This acknowledgement comes after a turbulent few weeks for Facebook, that have seen a number of recent outcries over content. Earlier this month the social network reversed a decision that originally chose not to remove a video showing a man being beheaded, as oddly enough it did not break Facebook’s policy.

More recently, women’s rights groups – including the Everyday Sexism Project – have mounted large-scale online campaigns in opposition to some of the content that has been allowed to remain on Facebook. As well as writing to Facebook directly, the groups also encouraged advertisers to boycott the site, pointing out that their advertising appeared alongside user-created pages showing images of violence towards women that were “shared, boasted and joked about”.

In the blog post addressing the issue, Facebook said that it had become “clear that our systems to identify and remove hate speech have failed to work as effectively as we would like”.

Marne Levine, VP of Global Public Policy at Facebook, went on to say:

“In some cases, content is not being removed as quickly as we want… In other cases, content that should be removed has not been or has been evaluated using outdated criteria… We have been working over the past several months to improve our systems to respond to reports of violations, but the guidelines used by these systems have failed to capture all the content that violates our standards.”

What has your experience of controversial or harmful content on Facebook been? Have you ever felt compelled to report something, and was the request heeded? Let us know in the comments.

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