Facebook To Review Content Policies Amidst Protests

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Facebook is to review policies on how it handles controversial posts amidst ongoing racism protests, after staff staged walk-out

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has said the company will review content policies that have been widely criticised from within and outside of the company, amidst protests over racial inequalities and police brutality.

Zuckerberg, who holds a controlling stake in the company, did not promise specific policy changes.

His remarks came in response to a walk-out by staff last week, followed later in the week by a meeting in which Zuckerberg faced questions from angry employees.

He said Facebook would review the company’s policies on “threats of state use of force”, following his decision that a controversial post by US president Donald Trump did not violate policies.

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Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook’s F8 developer conference in 2018. Credit: Facebook

‘Amendments’

“We’re going to review our policies allowing discussion and threats of state use of force to see if there are any amendments we should adopt,” Zuckerberg wrote.

He said the review would specifically address “instances of excessive use of police or state force” and “when a country has ongoing civil unrest or violent conflicts”.

Twitter attached a warning to Trump’s post on its platform for “glorifying violence” and has also recently fact-checked other Trump posts.

Currently, Facebook’s policy is to either leave posts up or take them down, but Zuckerberg said the review would look into other “potential options for handling violating or partially-violating content”.

Transparency

He said Facebook would also be more transparent about its decision-making on taking down posts, would review policies on posts that could cause voter suppression and would look to build software that would advance racial justice.

In connection with voter suppression, Zuckerberg specifically mentioned potential misinformation, something Twitter also addressed in its fact-checks of some Trump posts.

He said he personally thinks the company’s current policy on removing posts that incite violence – rather than labelling them as Twitter did – is “principled and reasonable”.

“But I also respect a lot of the people who think there may be better alternatives, so I want to make sure we hear all those ideas,” Zuckerberg wrote.

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