Here's How Facebook Decides What You Can And Can't See

One of Facebook’s overwhelmed content moderators – who reportedly sometimes have just 10 seconds to decide whether or not a piece of content is appropriate for the site's immense user base or not – appears to have leaked a slideshow outlining the company’s complex rules for governing what Facebook’s 2 billion users can and cannot see to the Guardian.

The Guardian published the presentation in a series of slideshows divided into different topics: Sadism, violence, child abuse...

One of the slides outlining how the company handles depictions of graphic violence appeared with the following editor’s note:

“Some use language we would not usually publish, but to understand Facebook’s content policies, we decided to include it. See for yourself how Facebook’s polices what users post.”

It’s important to remember that Facebook’s moderators remove content “on report only,” meaning that millions of Facebook users could see a graphic image or video – such as a beheading – before it’s removed.

As one report notes, the guidelines “may also alarm free speech advocates concerned about Facebook’s de facto role as the world’s largest censor. Both sides are likely to demand greater transparency.”

Facebook employs about 4,500 “content moderators” but recently announced plans to hire another 3,000, the Guardian reported.

Here are some notable excerpts highlighted by the Guardian:

  • Remarks such as “Someone shoot Trump” should be deleted, because as a head of state he is in a protected category. But it can be permissible to say: “To snap a bitch’s neck, make sure to apply all your pressure to the middle of her throat”, or “fuck off and die” because they are not regarded as credible threats.
  • Videos of violent deaths, while marked as disturbing, do not always have to be deleted because they can help create awareness of issues such as mental illness.
  • Some photos of non-sexual physical abuse and bullying of children do not have to be deleted or “actioned” unless there is a sadistic or celebratory element.
  • Photos of animal abuse can be shared, with only extremely upsetting imagery to be marked as “disturbing”.
  • All “handmade” art showing nudity and sexual activity is allowed but digitally made art showing sexual activity is not.

Here's a sampling of the more-than 100 slide presentation.

Here's an example of the slides relating to guidelines surrounding depictions of graphic violence. It begins, predictably, with a trigger warning:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a few slides that explain the site's policies for determining whether threatening language crosses over into being a credible threat.

 

 

Here's a slide that describe how the site handles threats made about public figures - which it determines as anyone who has over 100,000 followers on any social media website.