What will get you banned from Facebook?
A hidden set of standards is revealed.
Policing the world’s billion Facebook users is no easy task for the social media giant. In the past week alone, two users found themselves unexpectedly de-Faced. First was the breast cancer survivor who posted an image of her tattooed chest; despite 145,000 likes, the image had been removed. Then there was the 104-year-old woman forced to lie about her age due to a glitch that didn’t allow any user to register with a birth date prior to 1908.
A page of Community Standards outlines the user content forbidden by Facebook’s legal team, and to enforce their standards, the site hires outside monitors to comb through profiles for offending images and text. Recently, a disgruntled employee of one outsourcing group — who claims he and his fellow Moroccan workers were paid at a rate of $1 per hour — leaked to Gawker the hidden set of “abuse standards” used by his monitoring firm, oDesk.
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Why is sex out but some violent imagery tolerated? Why is drug paraphernalia banned but smoking pot okay? You'll have to ask the Facebook cops. Here’s a short list of content banned from Facebook according to the oDesk leak.
• Violation No. 1 as seen in oDesk Abuse Standards: “Any OBVIOUS sexual activity, even if naked parts are hidden from view by hands, clothes or other objects. Cartons/art included. Foreplay allowed (Kissing, groping, etc.) even for same-sex individuals.” Facebook had to backpedal last week after removing an image of two men kissing. The image has been reinstated.
• Images depicting “approval, delight, involvement, etc. in animal or human torture” are forbidden. An Oklahoma teen nonetheless posted an image last week of a pit bull he killed with a bow and arrow. Being banned is now the least of the teenager’s concerns: the outrage has prompted death threats against him and his family and an investigation by authorities.
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• Facebook bans images of “Mothers breastfeeding without clothes on.” Back in 2008, Facebook’s policy infuriated “lactivists,” who attracted over 80,000 supporters with an online petition. The site now specifies that it does “aspire to respect people’s right to share…family photos of a child breastfeeding.”
• The problem Facebook has with breastfeeding is nudity — exposed female nipples are disallowed (male nipples are not a problem). Facebook had to get themselves out of hot water last year after mistaking the elbows of a bathing woman for her breasts.
• Violent speech is not allowed. But "Crushed heads, limbs, etc. are ok as long as no insides are showing." Deep flesh wounds and excessive blood are likewise allowed.
• Depictions of illegal drug use are banned. However, monitors can allow marijuana imagery “unless context is clear that the poster is selling, buying/growing.“
• Hate content is prohibited, including not only racial slurs and comments but hate symbols. However, in the absence of slurs, “humor overrules hate speech.”
• Images of semen are not allowed. Bodily fluids are okay — unless they’re seen in the process of being expelled from a body. According to a revised clause in the abuse standards, “bodily fluids (except semen) are ok to show unless a human being is captured in the process.”
Photo: What gets you banned from Facebook / SelectStock/Getty Images
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