wordpress blog stats
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Facebook will now remove coordinated efforts to harass or silence public figures

Facebook expands its harassment policies to cover journalists and activists following damning revelations from a whistleblower.

Credit: Unsplash

Facebook will now remove ‘coordinated mass harassment’ and ‘severe sexualizing content’ targeting public figures from its platform, Antigone Davis, global head of safety at Facebook, said in a blog post on October 13.

Facebook has been criticised recently for having a different set of standards for high-profile users. While these new policies might offer much-needed protection from harm to public figures, they also further distinguish between high-profile users and ordinary users on Facebook.

What new protections has Facebook announced for public figures?

Here are the types of content Facebook will now remove from its platform:

Coordinated Mass Harassment: Facebook will now remove posts and accounts that contribute to co-ordinated mass harassment, even if they don’t violate the company’s content policies:

  • Coordinated efforts of mass harassment that target individuals at heightened risk of offline harm
  • State-linked and adversarial networks of accounts, Pages and Groups that work together to harass or silence people

Sexual content: To further protect public figures on the platform from sexual harassment, the company will remove ‘severe sexualizing content’ from the platform:

  • Profiles, Pages, Groups or Events dedicated to sexualising the public figure
  • Derogatory, sexualised photoshopped images and drawings
  • Attacks through negative physical descriptions that are mentioned, or posted on the public figure’s account
  • Degrading content depicting individuals in the process of bodily functions

What other policies does Facebook have to prevent harm to public figures?

Here is the additional content from which public figures are explicitly protected under Facebook’s community standards for bullying and harassment:

  • For adults:
    • Calls for death, or to contract or develop a medical condition.
    • Claims about sexually transmitted diseases
    • Female-gendered cursing terms when used in a derogatory way.
    • Content that praises, celebrates or mocks their death or medical condition.
  • For minors:
    • Comparisons to animals or insects that are culturally perceived as intellectually or physically inferior or to an inanimate object (“cow”, “monkey”, “potato”).
    • Content manipulated to highlight, circle or otherwise negatively draw attention to specific physical characteristics (nose, ear and so on).

Aside from these, many other protections in the policy are generally applicable to both private individuals and public figures.

How does Facebook treat high-profile users differently?

While the protections for public figures might be warranted, Facebook uses this distinction between ordinary users and public figures for other, less justifiable purposes.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Facebook’s confidential 2019 internal review of the company’s whitelisting practices recounted multiple instances where public figures were treated differently when found in violation of the company’s guidelines, Wall Street Journal reported:

  • Sexual Harassment: In some instances, posts from whitelisted users that amounted to harassment were left unchecked. Facebook’s policy on non-consensual intimate imagery is straightforward: that it should be deleted, and users who post such imagery immediately banned. Exceptions to this policy were made for high-profile users, the Wall Street Journal said.
  • Incitement to Violence: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” Donald Trump posted on Facebook in May 2020. An automated system designed to detect whether a post violated company policy had scored Trump’s post 90 out of 100, indicating a high likelihood of a violation. The post, however, was allowed to remain on the platform.

Also read:

Have something to add? Post your comment and gift someone a MediaNama subscription.

Written By

Figuring out subscriptions and growth at MediaNama. Email: nishant@medianama.com

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



Due to the scale of regulatory and technical challenges, transparency reporting under the IT Rules has gotten off to a rocky start.


Here are possible reasons why Indians are not generating significant IAP revenues despite our download share crossing 30%.


This article addresses the legal and practical ambiguities in understanding the complex crypto ecosystem in India.


It is widely argued that the PDP Bill report seeks to discard the intermediary status of social media platforms but that may not be...


Looking at the definition of health data, it is difficult to verify whether health IDs are covered by the Bill.

You May Also Like


Google has released a Google Travel Trends Report which states that branded budget hotel search queries grew 179% year over year (YOY) in India, in...


135 job openings in over 60 companies are listed at our free Digital and Mobile Job Board: If you’re looking for a job, or...


Rajesh Kumar* doesn’t have many enemies in life. But, Uber, for which he drives a cab everyday, is starting to look like one, he...


By Aroon Deep and Aditya Chunduru You’re reading it here first: Twitter has complied with government requests to censor 52 tweets that mostly criticised...

MediaNama is the premier source of information and analysis on Technology Policy in India. More about MediaNama, and contact information, here.

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ

Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ