Facebook will now make it mandatory for users to post using their real names when they share “cruel and insensitive content”, according to an official blogpost put up. This move, as reported earlier, comes after a social media campaign that had a hand in making the social networking site lose fifteen of the brands advertising with it.
While responding to the UK-based Everyday Sexism project’s #FBrape campaign, Facebook has vowed to update its policies and improve the training it gives its employees about content moderation and content that is flagged by users.
According to a report by CNET, Marne Levine, Vice President – Global Public Policy, Facebook, said,” a few months ago we began testing a new requirement that the creator of any content containing cruel and insensitive humour include his or her authentic identity for the content to remain on Facebook.“
The rational behind this is clear, according to Facebook. With the real identity of the person being made clear, any individual who decides to publicly share cruel and insensitive content can be held accountable by other users, who can also directly object to the content. Facebook says that it will continue to develop this policy based on the results they get, so as to “create a better environment for Facebook users.”
Facebook is changing its policy following a media campaign that targeted it for hate speech.
It is not yet clear what will change on Facebook, though, and how these changes will be rolled in. Most groups on Facebook can be anonymously run and can post any content that they want. Thus, it may be that Facebook will require a named user to act as the controller for every group, which can be authenticated and who can be held responsible for the content that can be viewed. The problem with this is that there may be serious impediments to the free speech and conversations that groups with legitimate reasons to be on the social website have.
Facebook’s move came a week after a lot of media coverage was seen about this issue, which caused companies like Nissan and Nationwide among others to withdraw their ads from the website. Other companies like Dove were reported saying that they are working rigorously with Facebook to deal with this issue.
The people who are running the campaign against insensitive groups were verbal in their appreciation of Facebook’s efforts. In a statement, the Women, Action and Media group said: “Facebook has already been a leader on the internet in addressing hate speech on its service. We believe that this is the foundation for an effective working collaboration designed to confront gender-based hate speech effectively. Our mutual intent is to create safe spaces, both on and off-line. We see this as a vital and essential component to the valuable work that Facebook is doing to address cyber-bulling, harassment and real harm.”
This is not the first time Facebook has faced flak for its user’s content. According to a report by BBC news, in the beginning of May, the social website refused to take down a video of a man being beheaded, because it did not conflict with Facebook’s policy. It later had to change that decision.