Facebook wants to revise guidelines for criticism

Mark Zuckerberg responds to the criticism and now wants to review the Facebook guidelines in three areas and revise them if necessary. The CEO does not promise changes.

Facebook is currently increasingly criticized in the United States. After CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg decided not to delete controversial posts from Donald Trump, employees went on strike. Facebook employees openly criticize that the company has no clear position regarding the anti-racism movement in the United States. The fact that Zuckerberg informed employees that Trump’s content should remain on the platform despite the strike also caused internal unrest. To counteract this, at least potentially, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will now review its own guidelines and revise them if necessary. Regulations that pursue racist approaches or promote unequal treatment of different ethnic groups are to be improved.

Zuckerberg responds to the criticism

On his Facebook profile, Mark Zuckerberg presented his thoughts on the current situation and responded to criticism of the social media platform. However, he also emphasized that he considered the guidelines of his company regarding the deletion of user content to be correct. So it says in Zuckerbergs Post Office:

I believe our platforms can play a positive role in helping to heal the divisions in our society, and I’m committed to making sure our work pulls in this direction. […] And while we will continue to stand for giving everyone a voice and erring on the side of free expression in these difficult decisions – even when it’s speech we strongly and viscerally disagree with – I’m committed to making sure we also fight for voter engagement and racial justice too.

Social media against Trump: tense situation just before the presidential election

The protests of the employees were triggered above all by two posts from the US President Donald Trump. He also published this on Twitter. In the posts, he comments on the riots in the context of the anti-racism demonstrations. A wave of protests broke out in the United States after African American George Floyd died as a result of a violent police arrest. Trump cited a former Miami chief of police in his posts. In 1967, he commented on a planned violent smashing of “civil disobedience” in residential areas of the Black Community with the phrase “When the looting starts, the shooting starts”.

Screenshot Facebook

Twitter marked and blocked the tweets because of racist and violent language. Snapchat also significantly restricted the president’s reach due to this post. Trump’s profile was quickly removed from the app’s Discover tab. Facebook, however, kept the post on the President’s account. The situation between the US President and the social media corporations is tense shortly before the presidential elections in November. Especially since Trump announced that he wanted to take action against what he believed to be the “illegal situation” on social networks and was planning to set up a state control committee.

New guidelines on Facebook: Zuckerberg wants to review three areas

Mark Zuckerberg informs Facebook users in his post that something may change on the platform in the future:

Based on feedback from employees, civil rights experts and subject matter experts internally, we’re exploring the [three areas] – ideas related to specific policies, ideas related to decision-making, and proactive initiatives to advance racial justice and voter engagement.

Zuckerberg promises that Facebook will focus on three areas in the guidelines and revise them. On the one hand, this includes dealing with government institutions that communicate via the social media platform. On the other hand, Facebook’s guidelines regarding major political events, such as the November elections, are to be revised. This is particularly important in the current corona pandemic, as there is a lot of uncertainty here, said Zuckerberg. Facebook is aware that its own platform would try to take advantage of this and prevent people from voting. Zuckerberg added:

For example, as politicians debate what the vote-by-mail policies should be in different states, what should be the line between a legitimate debate about the voting policies and attempts to confuse or suppress individuals about how, when or where to vote?

The third area that the social media company would like to revise is Zuckerberg’s handling of disinformation shared by accounts with a very large reach. Facebook could follow Twitter. The short message service highlights tweets that are misleading. Twitter also offers users the opportunity to check the statements on an information page themselves.

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No guarantee: Zuckerberg emphasizes that the Facebook guidelines could also remain unchanged

The Facebook CEO made it clear in his post that the social media platform did not commit itself to changing its own guidelines with the review:

In general, I worry that this approach has a risk of leading us to editorialize on content we don’t like even if it doesn’t violate our policies, so I think we need to proceed very carefully.

It seems that Mark Zuckerberg has not changed his mind fundamentally. But the review of the Facebook guidelines could be a first attempt to get closer to the striking employees. Zuckerberg also emphasized that the decision-making process regarding potential changes should be as transparent as possible. The CEO also wants to change internal structures to ensure that the right employees are involved in these decisions.

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