San Francisco (AFP): Facebook on Friday said that it will begin allowing more graphic or potentially disturbing newsworthy posts to be shared at the leading online social network.
“We’re going to begin allowing more items that people find newsworthy, significant, or important to public interest — even if they might otherwise violate our standards,” Facebook vice presidents Joel Kaplan and Justin Osofsky said in a blog post.
They explained that they were working with the social network’s community and partners on how exactly to recalibrate standards regarding which posts are deemed too offensive to allow.
“Our intent is to allow more images and stories without posing safety risks or showing graphic images to minors and others who do not want to see them,” Kaplan and Osofsky said.
Facebook has become a major platform for sharing news stories, and that has come with criticism for censoring some content despite it having historical or editorial value.
The California-based social network on Friday apologized for taking down a breast cancer awareness video because the images were flagged as offensive, saying the move was “an error”.
Swedish cancer charity Cancerfonden had put out word that its video explaining to women how to check for suspicious lumps, featuring animated figures of women with circle-shaped breasts, had been removed from Facebook.
“We find it incomprehensible and strange how one can perceive medical information as offensive,” Cancerfonden communications director Lena Biornstad told AFP.
“This is information that saves lives.”
Facebook faced outrage in September for repeatedly deleting a historic Vietnam War photo included in a post by Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg.
It said the iconic photo of a naked Vietnamese girl fleeing a napalm bombing violated its rules, but it later backtracked on the decision.
Facebook has a ban on posts that contain nudity, with some exceptions, such as images of works of art and women breastfeeding, or educational content. The social network also bans posts inciting violence or hate.
The Wall Street Journal on Friday reported that some Facebook employees lobbied at the social network to have some posts by US presidential candidate Donald Trump – such as those calling for a ban on Muslim immigration – branded hate speech and removed.
Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg rejected the request on the grounds it would amount to censoring a political candidate, according to the Journal.
Facebook boasts having some 1.7 billion users around the world.