Just when you thought the censorship at social media companies couldn't possibly get any worse, Facebook has come along and moved the bar.
The company is now going to be protecting activists and journalists, who is is called "involuntary" public figures, with additional safeguards against "harassment and bullying", Reuters reported.
The company says people it determines to be "human rights defenders" will be protected under the new safeguards, which we're sure will be completely discretionary and applied only to those "activists" who are advocating for liberal causes.
Nevermind the fact that when someone becomes an "activist" they are no longer an "involuntary" public figure, but we digress.
Facebook's handling of public figures has been an area of debate over the last month, as the company deals with allegations form a "whistleblower" who went public with details of the company's content moderation strategies.
Reuters reported on the new rules:
Facebook also differentiates between public figures and private individuals in the protections it affords around online discussion: for instance, users are generally allowed to call for the death of a celebrity in discussions on the platform, as long as they do not tag or directly mention the celebrity. They cannot call for the death of a private individual, or now a journalist, under Facebook's policies.
And not unlike the U.S. tax code or any industry subject to micromanagement from the government, the more spurious rules put into place, we're certain the less effective they are going to be.
“The thing I saw at Facebook over and over again was there were conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook. And Facebook, over and over again, chose to optimize for its own interests, like making more money,” the whistleblower claimed.
Weird. Almost as if there's some kind of profit motive left at Facebook. Although given how the rest of the capital markets reward companies that burn cash, we aren't entirely surprised by how confusing capitalism has become for some people.
We'll just make sure to remind the "whistleblower" of these priorities when she signs her book deal...