Is this an actual change of policy? Or simply hiding their actual policy from the public?
Yesterday, it was discovered that Facebook had updated their community standards to allow threats of death and violence against people and organizations which Facebook had banned. Yes, you read that right. Facebook actually placed a parenthetical addendum to many of their rules that allowed for the targeting of those whom Facebook had deemed “dangerous individuals and organizations”.
The rules listed a number of definitions for offending threats and violence. The majority of those rules had the parenthetical addendum added that follows;
“(unless the target is an organization or individual covered in the Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy, or is described as having carried out violent crimes or sexual offenses, wherein criminal/predator status has been established by media reports, market knowledge of news event, etc.)”
Facebook bans those that it deems “dangerous individuals and organizations”. And while one would assume that would of course mean criminals and terrorists, Facebook has used that same definition for a wide range of people that are not breaking any law, but instead voicing opinion which is oppositional to Facebook’s own far-left agenda. While you may assume that may mean far-right or “alt right” voices, it is far more inclusive than that, including religious groups, pro-life groups, and people which do not consider themselves “right” at all. What did these “new” community standards mean then? That threats against anyone which Facebook had banned would be allowed.
Of course news of this policy update spread around the internet yesterday. While mainstream media seemed to completely ignore the story, new media jumped on the story. The response? Facebook quitely deleted the parenthetical allowance. Surely the company will wish that the former rules are quickly forgotten, but screenshots and archived version of the page abound throughout the internet.
The question which should remain in everyone’s mind, is what is the true story behind Facebook’s Community Standards? Were these posted publicly by accident? To many, it sure seems as if these are the rules which Facebook has been living by for some time. Was this an actual change in policy whereas Facebook thought it was a good idea to allow threats against a Facebook defined group even though this would be against the law in most of the world? Even though Facebook has removed these allowances from the public policy, what will be enforced? No matter which direction this story takes, we should all be frightened when one of the largest platforms in the world decides it can determine who is dangerous, and who is deserving of threats of death and violence.
You can read the updated Facebook Community Standards here.