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Facebook thinks it’s fine for users to wish death upon public figures

Have more than 100,000 fans or followers on Facebook? Well, people can wish death upon you, apparently.

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Image: KnowTechie

People are obviously very opinionated when it comes to public figures on sites like Facebook and Twitter, whether it is about actors, politicians, journalists, or just people that have gained popularity by posting engaging content on social media.

Now, leaked internal moderator guidelines paint a better picture of how these public figures can be treated on Facebook. The guidelines (over 300 pages worth) were leaked to The Guardian, and some of the rules are pretty surprising. Mainly? That you can wish death upon them, but don’t tag them in the post.

The guidelines are from December 2020 and state, “For public figures, we remove attacks that are severe as well as certain attacks where the public figure is directly tagged in the post or comment. For private individuals, our protection goes further: we remove content that’s meant to degrade or shame, including, for example, claims about someone’s sexual activity.”

So, basically, don’t wish harm or death to your local troll on Facebook, but if it is your local newsperson with more than 100,000 followers or fans, it’s cool, but don’t tag them while rejoicing their theoretical death. Oh, and the rules also allow for anyone who is “mentioned in the title, subtitle or preview of 5 or more news articles or media pieces within the last 2 years.” So, that’s… something.

The only exceptions seem to be for children under 13 years old and “involuntary” public figures who do not engage with their fame. Sources tell The Guardian that the definition of public figures will soon be updated to “raise the threshold … in increasingly digitally engaged times,” but no word on when that will happen.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.


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