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  1. Embroiled in data breach controversy, Facebook to seek user feedback to improve community guidelines

Embroiled in data breach controversy, Facebook to seek user feedback to improve community guidelines

Social networking giant Facebook, which has been embroiled in a data breach controversy, today said it will host a series of public events across various countries, including India, as part of its efforts to improve and refine its community standard guidelines.

By: | New Delhi | Published: April 24, 2018 10:48 PM
Facebook, which has been embroiled in a data breach controversy, said it will host a series of public events across various countries, including India. Facebook, which has been embroiled in a data breach controversy, said it will host a series of public events across various countries, including India.

Social networking giant Facebook, which has been embroiled in a data breach controversy, today said it will host a series of public events across various countries, including India, as part of its efforts to improve and refine its community standard guidelines. The US-based company — which has made public its internal enforcement guidelines today — said it is also giving users the right to appeal against decisions if the social media platform decides to remove photos, videos or posts deemed to be in violation of community standards.

“We decided to publish these internal guidelines for two reasons. First, the guidelines will help people understand where we draw the line on nuanced issues. Second, providing these details makes it easier for everyone, including experts in different fields, to give us feedback so that we can improve the guidelines – and the decisions we make – over time,” Facebook Vice President Global Policy Management Monika Bickert wrote in a blogpost. It added that for the first time, Facebook is giving users the “right to appeal our decisions on individual posts so you can ask for a second opinion when you think we’ve made a mistake”.

Over the last few weeks, Facebook has drawn intense criticism from users and governments globally over a number of issues, ranging from false news on the platform to information of over 80 million users being mined by data analytics and political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. The Indian government had also questioned both the companies on the impact of the data breach. Facebook had admitted that nearly 5.62 lakh people in India were “potentially affected” by the incident. Testifying before the US Congress, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said his organisation was committed to ensure integrity of elections across the world, including India.

Facebook noted that its community standards guidelines has evolved over time based on feedback, as well as changes in social norms and language. However, the underlying principles of safety, voice and equity on which these standards are based have not changed, Facebook emphasised. “In May, we will launch Facebook Forums: Community Standards, a series of public events in Germany, France, the UK, India, Singapore, the US and other countries where we’ll get people’s feedback directly. We will share more details about these initiatives as we finalise them,” the post said.

Facebook said it uses a combination of artificial intelligence and reports from people to identify posts, pictures or other content that is likely to violate its community standards. These reports are reviewed by its Community Operations team, who work round the clock in over 40 languages. It noted that it has more than 7,500 content reviewers currently, over 40 per cent from the year-ago period.

“We know we need to do more. That’s why, over the coming year, we are going to build out the ability for people to appeal our decisions. As a first step, we are launching appeals for posts that were removed for nudity/sexual activity, hate speech or graphic violence,” it said.

Users will be given the option to request additional review, following which a review by its team (always by a person) will be done, typically within 24 hours. If the removal was done by mistake, the user will be notified of the same and the post will be restored. PTI SR MKJ 04242140

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