Facebook has released new anti-harassment protections as it battles a crisis over the impact of its products Photo: AFP/File
tech

Embattled Facebook releases new curbs on harassment

11 Comments

Facebook unveiled fresh protections Wednesday against online attacks on journalists, activists and celebrities as the social media giant battles a crisis over its platforms' potential harms.

The company has faced a storm of criticism and a a Senate panel hearing since a whistleblower leaked internal studies showing Facebook knew its sites could be harmful to young people's mental health.

Frances Haugen, an ex-worker at the company, alleged the leading social network put profits before the safety of its users.

Facebook head of safety Antigone Davis announced the new protections, writing "we do not allow bullying and harassment on our platform, but when it does happen, we act."

Facebook expanded its range of banned "attacks" on public figures to include a range of sexual or degrading images of their bodies.

Davis, who defended the company's work in a hearing before lawmakers, said "attacks like these can weaponize a public figure's appearance."

Facebook also added journalists and human rights defenders to the list of people considered public figures because of their work.

New policies included derailing coordinated efforts to use multiple accounts to harass or intimidate people considered at heightened risk of harm in the real world, such as government dissidents and victims of violent tragedies.

Davis said Facebook will also start removing state-linked and "adversarial networks" of accounts at the social network that "work together to harass or silence people" such as dissidents.

"We remove content that violates our policies and disable the accounts of people who repeatedly break our rules," she wrote.

The documents leaked by Haugen, which underpinned a series of scathing Wall Street Journal stories, have fueled one of Facebook's most serious crises yet.

In her testimony, Haugen noted the risks that the social media giant's platforms are fueling political division and self-dissatisfaction that is particularly dangerous for young people.

She has not finished calling on the authorities to regulate the network frequented daily by nearly three billion people worldwide.

European lawmakers have invited Haugen to a hearing and she was also scheduled to meet with Facebook's supervisory board, a semi-independent body responsible for evaluating the network's content policies.

The leaked documents and Haugen's testimony have prompted fierce pushback from Facebook, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg has not publicly said whether he will accept an invitation from a Senate panel to answer their questions.

© 2021 AFP

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

11 Comments
Login to comment

So what does this really show?

That FB acknowledges wide-spread harm on its platform, and is doing the best it can to stop the abuses, with the tools that it already has?

Or that they are making it ALL up as they go, scrambling to avoid the unbearable and unprofitable spotlight of regulatory and public scrutiny?

Perhaps we need more public hearings by regulators around the world. Just to finally get some real answers, from a company that has shown little inclination in the past to take a self-initiative to do the right thing.

Can we trust FB to do the right thing?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

FB censored a recipe a friend of mine posted, saying it contained "graphic imagery". It was cookies.

I'm not real confident FB has the man power (real life humans, not AI) to check every single post of the billions of posts on their platform and remove the ones that are harmful, while leaving the ones that aren't intact.

It was a good idea, but as long as there are sh!tty abusive people on the internet, i.e., forever, it's just not gonna work.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

FB, the liberal dystopia

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

fresh protections Wednesday against online attacks on journalists, activists and celebrities as the social media giant battles a crisis over its platforms' potential harms.

.

Facebook expanded its range of banned "attacks" on public figures

.

Facebook also added journalists and human rights defenders to the list of people considered public figures because of their work.

.

New policies included derailing coordinated efforts to use multiple accounts to harass or intimidate people considered at heightened risk of harm in the real world, such as government dissidents and victims of violent tragedies.

.

and what about everyone who is NOT a public figure, government dissident, journalist, celebrity, victim of violent tragedies ?

.

girl_in_tokyoToday 07:51 am JST

I'm not real confident FB has the man power (real life humans, not AI) to check every single post of the billions of posts on their platform and remove the ones that are harmful, while leaving the ones that aren't intact.

.

i agree on that.

.

The above article says about FB efforts to protect the few high profile celebrities, journalists, activists and other public figures.

.

But will it do anything for the majority of FB users who are NOT high profile, etc. and are victims of such attacks ?

.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Whatever excuse they can use to censor the “wrong kind of people” more.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I value Facebook. With it, I can stay in touch with my childhood friends. Used for its intended purposes, Facebook is wonderful - but as with any tool, it can be misused. There's a reason why we don't outlaw hammers.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@paddeltine

FB is where right wing media and hate groups breed. It’s very much not a liberal dystopia, but a human race dystopia.

They tailor their content so guests are fed what they want to see, so they click in more links and FB sells more ads.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Facebook is the new MySpace or Friendster. Most people I know abandon it. It’s like a graveyard run by bots and misinformation click bait articles.

Just delete the app and you will instantly forget you ever used it and have improved quality of life.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Facebook overzealously censors mundane articles, satire and other innocuous posts, yet allows obvious phishing posts, fraudulent ads, and other misinformation.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'll think the women of Afghanistan (and many other nations) would happily swop the real world dangers they are facing each day for the social media 'harms' that middle class Westerners face, the ones that can be ignored with the click of a mouse.

Facebook's ubiquity has made it a universal target. Half of its users condemn it for censoring content, the other half for not censoring content. But as it deals with Web 2.0 content, it's ability to censor is limited and clumsy. It cannot win.

Hopefully it will soon allow people to self-censor what they see on it, or it will be the biggest sacrificial victim of the culture wars - a scapegoat for human nature online.

I hope the distributed alternatives to it are being coded somewhere, avoiding the problems that FB faces as the hub of the world's conversations. Distributed social media would have no hub. We would each be able to control what we see, and neither FB nor anyone else would be in a position to intervene.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nibek32Oct. 14  07:18 pm JST

@paddeltine

FB is where right wing media and hate groups breed. It’s very much not a liberal dystopia, but a human race dystopia.

They tailor their content so guests are fed what they want to see, so they click in more links and FB sells more ads.

Zuck is a tool and a mouthpiece of the Spankee Boy Fascist. I have several times reported hate group posts and all I got was the same crap 'we feel it doesn't violate our standards'. FB is good to connect with people of the past and get event info but that's it. And play games.

Zuck had the gall to ask permission from Roger Waters of Pink Floyd for use of 'Another Brick in the Wall - Part 2' to promote FB and Roger stated that Zuck had a childish blog where he put up female celebrity pics and rate them with teenage mentality level statements like 'I'd hit it!' or a boorish putdown. In his usual manner, Roger replied back, 'No f***in' way!'. That's our Rog!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites