Facebook updates policies to protect against mass harassment, attacks on public figures     – CNET

Facebook updates policies to protect against mass harassment, attacks on public figures – CNET

Facebook social media app

Facebook’s updated policies will protect people from coordinated harassment efforts. 

James Martin/CNET

Facebook is making changes to its harassment and bullying policies to protect those that are facing online abuse. The company met with global stakeholders to make updates, including female politicians, representatives of the LGBTQ community, content creators and more. 

The changes were unveiled on Wednesday, which is also National Bullying Prevention and Awareness Day. Online hate and harassment are continued problems on many social media sites. An Anti-Defamation League survey published in March found that about 41% of American said they experienced some type of online hate and harassment, while 21% reported facing “severe online harassment” such as stalking, physical threats or doxing. Americans experienced the most harassment on Facebook followed by Twitter, Instagram and Google-owned YouTube, according to the survey.

“It’s important that everyone on our apps feels safe to engage and connect with their communities. We do not allow bullying and harassment on our platform, but when it does happen, we act,” Antigone Davis, Facebook’s global head of security, shared in a news release

The social media platform will remove targeted, coordinated efforts for mass harassment if there’s a risk for harm offline against anyone — even if the content does not violate other policies. Facebook will also remove any content, including direct messages, comments and posts. The updated policy includes removing Groups and Pages that work together to harass or bully anyone. 

Facebook’s changes are also expected to give more protection to public figures and those that involuntarily became public figures, like human rights advocates or journalists. Facebook will remove “degrading or sexualized attacks” on public figures, including profiles, pages, groups and images that sexualize them. Unwanted comments can also be removed at the individual’s request.

Facebook said that it will continue to make changes to its policies as needed. The company has also been looking for ways to reduce harassment on its other platforms. Earlier this summer, Instagram began testing a new Limits feature that lets users temporarily pause interactions if they feel harassed or targeted. 

facebook updates policies to protect against mass harassment attacks on public figures

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