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Oct 06 2013

Facebook does not follow its own written policies

Right. Facebook. Let’s take a look at that.

It has a Safety page, which has a Safety Philosophy page.

There we find:

Our Part
In reviewing reports of abusive content, we remove anything that violates the Facebook Terms or Community Standards.

So we look at the Rights and Responsibilities page, which is also a Terms page, aka a TOS page. I assume that “terms of service” means what it says – these are the terms on which we let you use the service.

Item 3 on that page is Safety.

Safety
We do our best to keep Facebook safe, but we cannot guarantee it. We need your help to keep Facebook safe, which includes the following commitments by you:

6.  You will not bully, intimidate, or harass any user.

7.  You will not post content that: is hate speech, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.

So, if people report a page that is, decidedly and emphatically and obviously, hate speech and threatening, and does decidedly and emphatically and obviously incite violence, then Facebook should do something about it.

There are two more items under Safety that are relevant.

10.  You will not use Facebook to do anything unlawful, misleading, malicious, or discriminatory.

12.  You will not facilitate or encourage any violations of this Statement or our policies.

A page that asks “should Named Woman be murdered?” is obviously in violation of 6,7, 10, and 12.

Item 5 is Protecting Other People’s Rights.

 We respect other people’s rights, and expect you to do the same.

  1. You will not post content or take any action on Facebook that infringes or violates someone else’s rights or otherwise violates the law.
  2. We can remove any content or information you post on Facebook if we believe that it violates this Statement or our policies.

They shouldn’t claim that they respect other people’s rights when they brush off multiple reports of a page suggesting someone should be murdered.

They also shouldn’t say, as they do on the Safety page, “In reviewing reports of abusive content, we remove anything that violates the Facebook Terms or Community Standards.” That’s a false statement. It says “we remove anything that violates” the terms or standards. No they don’t, so they shouldn’t say they do.

Now what about the community standards.

Safety is Facebook’s top priority. We remove content and may escalate to law enforcement when we perceive a genuine risk of physical harm, or a direct threat to public safety. You may not credibly threaten others, or organize acts of real-world violence.

Now there they’ve been more careful; they’ve made sure to hedge what they claim. “Genuine” risk, “direct” threat, “credibly” threaten, “real-world” violence. So apparently you are allowed to create a fake risk or an indirect threat, and you may non-credibly threaten others. (I’m not sure what organizing acts of non-real-world would mean, so I omit it.)

But. Then there is Bullying and Harassment.

Facebook does not tolerate bullying or harassment. We allow users to speak freely on matters and people of public interest, but take action on all reports of abusive behavior directed at private individuals. Repeatedly targeting other users with unwanted friend requests or messages is a form of harassment.

Well so much for the careful hedging. No you fucking do not. You do not take action on all reports of abusive behavior directed at private individuals. Don’t tell lies.

And then there is Hate Speech.

Facebook does not permit hate speech, but distinguishes between serious and humorous speech. While we encourage you to challenge ideas, institutions, events, and practices, we do not permit individuals or groups to attack others based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition.

Hollow laughter. Yes you do. Of course you do. It’s notorious that you do. And we have personal experience that you do.

And then there’s their employee Mike Shaver, who was explaining things on Twitter last night, but that’s for another post.

7 comments

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  1. 1
    Al Dente

    In reviewing reports of abusive content, we remove anything that violates the Facebook Terms or Community Standards.

    Except when we don’t.

  2. 2
    rnilsson

    Thanks to the Eternal Law of Inertia, I have not yet succumbed to the Twin-Face so am unable (indeed, unwilling) to peruse their Contract.

    Is it stated anywhere therein how to solve a conflict between a User and the Pusher? Like, can someone obviously suffering (loss or otherwise), from Fakecook’s failure to comply with its own Terms of Use, or another User’s, seek compensation for such breach of felicity (dunno the actual legal term, sorry:) – well that’s what I’d like to know.

    Because it has been made overabundantly clear, not least here on B&W, that this Public Company systematically flouts its own rules of conduct. I should appreciate a correction; sharp and short if possible. Just to keep the Universe at its precarious balance, you see. (Watching from a relatively safer place. Also lazy.)

    Please note the absence of any actual threat to deploy TOMTAR (orbital mass total annihilation of Registered Trademark) (TM) at this time.Thank you.

  3. 3
    Frankie

    I just woke up today for this to be in the Monday morning news.

    Bullying in New Zealand – Social media sites foster cyber bullying
    M

    FACEBOOK

    It’s one of the most popular social networking sites in the world – with over 1 billion users worldwide – and it’s also one of the worst platforms for cyber bullying.

  4. 4
    Ophelia Benson

    Roland, no, they’re very clear about that. There’s a whole section IN ALL CAPS that says that. We can’t hold them liable for anything. Which I don’t object to, in a way, since we don’t (directly) pay them for the thing.

    But I think they should do much better, morally.

  5. 5
    Ophelia Benson

    Frankie – that will come in handy!

    And EXACTLY. We’re fortunate here, in a way – we can make a big stink in a hurry. Needless to say not everyone can do that. What about the nerdy junior high school kid who gets the “Should [the nerdy kid] be murdered?” treatment? She’s not likely to be able to mobilize a bunch of mouthy bloggers quickly. Her, Facebook will just ignore.

  6. 6
    Frankie

    Ophelia Benson @5

    In New Zealand, anyway, it’s this sort of thing that is far-too-often implicated in youth suicide. It’s about time this subject was treated as dead-seriously as it should be.

  7. 7
    rnilsson

    Just as well I stayed far off any sort of such one-sided “agreement” in that case, for my own sake. Greater the pity for those who did not, for one reason or another.

    Seeing as you do pay, in blood and needless anxiety, amongst other currencies, for the selective privilege of connexions. (Such as they are…)

    Some days it feels good to be outside of the popular loop!

  1. 8
    Threats, no, jokes, yes » Butterflies and Wheels

    […] ironic. On the one hand we get Facebook going “no, a page that threatens a named college student is not a problem, we won’t […]

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