Facebook has recently come under attack for failing to enforce its own guidelines on hate speech and violent imagery. Is it a website’s job to moderate the content users post, or should users have freedom to say what they want? Is there a happy medium? If so, how would you structure it?
Before we can discuss this, have you read the terms, conditions and policies of Facebook, or did you click through the accepts as most of us are prone to do. Facebook has a page that allows you to find out all about these at https://www.facebook.com/policies although there are many links, some of which you really should read, for this topic, click on Facebook Community Standards.
Under Facebook Community Standards, you will find the following topics, Violence and Threats, Self-Harm, Bullying and Harassment, Hate Speech, Graphic Content, Nudity and Pornography, Identity and Privacy, Intellectual Property, Phishing and Spam, and Security. After describing all these Facebook covers all of these with:
Because of the diversity of our community, it’s possible that something could be disagreeable or disturbing to you without meeting the criteria for being removed or blocked. For this reason, we also offer personal controls over what you see, such as the ability to hide or quietly cut ties with people, Pages, or applications that offend you.”
So now that we have established that this is an issue that is worldwide in scope, and impact beyond just Facebook. Google has made deals that vary country by country, with China being the most notable, The Huffington Post has an excellent timeline on Google in China. So lets look at the company policies level. Above I gave links and some information as to what Facebook says are it’s policies, should we expect a company to live up to it’s stated polices, in one word YES. Companies today have mission statements, which proclaim loudly their values and objectives. They will spend large sums of money of defending their image, in court and using any available media source. Facebook among others, has been investigated for privacy issues in Canada, and Europe.
So yes Facebook and other social media sites, allow us freedoms that where unthinkable even a generation ago. Yet at the same time these freedoms can be used for good or for evil, it is time that we the users, posters and beneficiaries of these freedoms came together and drafted a policy that respects the dignity, equality and access of all individuals in this world, or we may wake up to a world where we are all told what to think, say and do on the one hand, and on the other a world in which the truth is out there, but where.