Facebook Clarifies What Can And Cannot Be Posted

Facebook's Monika Bickert, Head of Global Policy Management, and Chris Sonderby, Deputy General Counsel, published an article on Monday detailing what users can and cannot post on the social network. They said these new "Community Standards" were created to provide a safe environment for users to express themselves while treating others with understanding and respect.

The report revealed that Facebook will pull any photo that exposes the genitals and/or buttocks. Breasts are also banned if they show the nipple, but are allowed if they show a woman breastfeeding her baby or reveal post-mastectomy scarring. Full-blown nudity is only accepted in paintings, sculptures and any other piece of art that depicts the naked body.

"Restrictions on the display of both nudity and sexual activity also apply to digitally created content unless the content is posted for educational, humorous, or satirical purposes," the Community Standards stated. "Explicit images of sexual intercourse are prohibited. Descriptions of sexual acts that go into vivid detail may also be removed."

The updated Community Standards also cover hate speech, which will be removed immediately from the site once it's reported. That means Facebook users cannot verbally attack people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation and more. The only time Facebook allows hate speech is when it's used to educate others about hate speech, or to raise awareness.

Bickert and Sonderby said on Monday that there will be content that is tolerated by Facebook and the Community Standards but may also violate the local laws of a specific country. In that scenario, Facebook not only blocks access to the content but reports the request in its Government Requests Report. This content isn't invisible to everyone, just the country where it's deemed illegal.

The Community Standards site is broken down into four parts: "Keeping you safe," "Encouraging respectful behavior," "Keeping your account and personal information secure," and "Protecting your intellectual property." Topics that are covered include direct threats, self-injury, violence and graphic content, fraud and spam, managing accounts of the deceased, bullying and harassment, criminal activity, and more.

Facebook users facing an issue that's covered by the Community Standards should contact the social website by clicking on the "Report" link at the very top right-hand corner of the site. These users will be asked why the reported content is violating Facebook's standards. Of course, Facebook users can also block the content, stop following the person behind the offensive material, or contact the individual directly to see why he/she posted offensive content.

Bickert and Sonderby go on to reveal that the Global Government Requests Report for the second half of 2014 is now available for viewing. The document shows that Facebook is experiencing an increase in government requests. Even more, Facebook saw an 11 percent increase in content that's restricted by local law when compared to the second half of 2013.

"We publish this information because we want people to know the extent and nature of the requests we receive from governments and the policies we have in place to process them," Bickert and Sonderby said.

Their full report can be read here.

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