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“On Facebook, you can wish the death of public figures”: the complaint of The Guardian

Above Facebook specific rules are in place against the dissemination of insults and threats directed at others, designed so that the platform does not turn into a vehicle of organized hatred towards individuals. The social network is not always able to apply their own rules with rigor, but according to what The Guardian reports, in some cases the moderators do not even try : when insults and death threats are addressed to characters audiences , even very little famous.

The revelation can only spark debate and comes from what The Guardian called internal documents intended for Facebook moderators . The newspaper obtained them from an unspecified source and, after analyzing them, offered a disturbing summary within those hours. Indeed, those responsible for moderation on the social network would have sent to distinguish who is the subject of insults and threatswithin individual interventions published by users: if it is an ordinary person, the social network applies all the levels of protection provided for by the regulation, removing offensive interventions and preventing perpetrators from repeating violations; in other cases, the social network prefers to “allow the debate that develops around individuals and people who make the news, even when the comments are critical”.

The unprotected categories

A practical example is what these are threats and death wishes . According to The Guardian, the social network admits these threats against VIPs and famous people provided they are not directly involvedin conversation, for example with a tag or in pages or groups where they are present. In addition to raising a problem of principle, what has arisen is also of concern because of the definition of public personality: in the category are included all politicians of all levels and ranks, all journalists who write publicly. Influencers are also among the targets, as long as they have more than 100,000 followers on one or more social networks. Also included in the criteria are people who have found themselves at the center of the news of the day, “named in the title, in the sub-title or at the buttonhole of 5 or more articles in the last 2 years”.

Since the spread of hate online remains an issue that should not be compromised , according to guidelines reported by The Guardian, general wishes and death threats can be addressed to a very wide range of people. , often unprotected what very well-known personalities have. Unfortunately, it’s not hard to see why Facebook might find the development of toxic conversations about polarizing figures admissible: social network gains are based on the attention posts are able to generate towards users, and content. that point to the belly. of the player should always be the ones that work the most.

Facebook’s response

In the same revealing article from The Guardian, Facebook responded with its version of events by reporting “to remove the most serious threats from any target” and “to consult regularly with experts on the protection of human rights, journalists and activists to receive comments on the rules used.

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