Date
6 December 2016
Facebook is changing its guidelines on content removal after facing criticism over its policies. Photo: Bloomberg
Facebook is changing its guidelines on content removal after facing criticism over its policies. Photo: Bloomberg

Facebook pledges fewer content removals

Facebook is working out new criteria that will allow more content on its platform that the company would have earlier removed because it violated its standards, according to a senior executive.

“We are going to begin allowing more items that people find newsworthy, significant or important to the public interest, even if they might otherwise violate our standards,” Patrick Walker, Facebook’s director of media partnership for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said on Monday.

His comments, made before a gathering of the Association of Norwegian Editors in Oslo, came after the social networking giant has faced criticism over its content removal policies, with a recent case being the removal of an iconic Vietnam War photo, Reuters reports.

A month ago, Facebook and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg came into conflict after the company deleted the photo of a naked Vietnamese girl fleeing a napalm attack. 

Solberg posted the photograph, called “The Terror of War”, on her Facebook page after the company had deleted it from the sites of a Norwegian author and the newspaper Aftenposten, which mounted a front-page campaign urging Facebook to permit publication.

The controversy has prompted Facebook to rethink its content removal policies.

“We have made a number of policy changes after The Terror of War photo. We have improved our escalation process to ensure that controversial stories and images get surfaced more quickly,” Walker said on Monday.

The comments came on the same day that more than 70 rights groups asked Facebook to clarify its policies for removing content, especially at the behest of governments, alleging the firm had repeatedly censored postings that document human rights violations.

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