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EXCLUSIVE Facebook to change rules on attacking public figures on its platforms

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Oct 13 (Reuters) – Facebook (FB.O) will now depend activists and journalists as “involuntary” public figures and so enhance protections towards harassment and bullying focused at these teams, its world security chief mentioned in an interview this week.

The social media firm, which permits extra important commentary of public figures than of personal people, says it’s altering its method on the harassment of journalists and “human rights defenders”, who it says are within the public eye due to their work quite than their public personas.

Facebook is beneath wide-ranging scrutiny from world lawmakers and regulators over its content material moderation practices and harms linked to its platforms, with inner paperwork leaked by a whistleblower forming the idea for a U.S. Senate listening to final week.

How Facebook, which has about 2.8 billion month-to-month energetic customers, treats public figures and content material posted by or about these figures has been an space of intense debate. In latest weeks, the corporate’s “cross check” system, which the Wall Street Journal reported has the impact of exempting some high-profile customers from traditional Facebook rules, has been within the highlight.

Facebook additionally differentiates between public figures and personal people within the protections it affords round on-line dialogue: as an illustration, customers are usually allowed to name for the dying of a celeb in discussions on the platform.

The firm declined to share an inventory of different involuntary public figures however mentioned they’re assessed on a case-by-case foundation. Earlier this 12 months, Facebook mentioned it might take away content material celebrating, praising or mocking George Floyd’s dying, as a result of he was deemed an involuntary public determine.

Facebook’s Global Head of Safety Antigone Davis mentioned the corporate was additionally increasing the varieties of assaults that it might not enable on public figures on its websites, as a part of an effort to cut back assaults disproportionately confronted by ladies, individuals of shade and the LGBTQ group.

Facebook will now not enable extreme and undesirable sexualizing content material, derogatory sexualized photoshopped pictures or drawings or direct detrimental assaults on an individual’s look, for instance, in feedback on a public determine’s profile.

Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford in Birmingham, England; extra reporting by Sheila Dang in Dallas; modifying by Richard Pullin

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A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen placed on a keyboard in this illustration taken March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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