Facebook reportedly creates new policy meant to target left-leaning posts

Facebook has the tricky job of ensuring that users don’t become overwhelmed with millions of unwanted posts or videos. It’s a tough task considering that we collectively spend billions of hours a day interacting…

Facebook reportedly creates new policy meant to target left-leaning posts

Facebook has the tricky job of ensuring that users don’t become overwhelmed with millions of unwanted posts or videos. It’s a tough task considering that we collectively spend billions of hours a day interacting with the site. However, the social media giant has come under fire this year as it reportedly continues to withhold or remove posts from conservatives and others with right-leaning viewpoints.

In response, the Federal Trade Commission announced earlier this year that it was looking into Facebook’s policies after the company removed a post by conservative commentator and businessman Randy Pausch after the company deemed it a hate speech. Though the company has since recovered, reports indicated that it could take them more than a year to undo this mistake. Now, a draft of a new Facebook policy is going viral, via The Intercept, that appears to highlight a different trend.

According to a leaked document obtained by the outlet, Facebook has been gathering information about how often certain posts are distributed in certain areas, and how the company determines if a post is sensitive to the group it’s targeting. This is an important insight given the increased importance and nature of data collection as of late. Indeed, Facebook’s policy updates, including this new document, give some indication of its level of commitment to this practice.

“At Facebook, we have limited resources to assess which content and people to prioritize. When we do so, we want to prevent broad, disproportionate sharing of content and content types that would harm only a small subset of people. When people share sensitive content, that content should only be seen by those in situations where their emotional experience cannot safely be broken down into a call for non-violence, an appeal for understanding, or a plea for pain management,” according to the policy document, which was dated June 2018.

The document also outlines the different tiers of posts or posts that Facebook considers sensitive, a source tells The Intercept. Targets that fall into the “unsuitable for minors” category are censored, while those categorized as “suitable for minors” are moderated. High-priority content is categorized in tiers one through seven.

Tier one: “Content that is personally and emotionally dangerous to you or that contains targeted intimidation and harassment.”

Tier two: “Content that is personally and emotionally dangerous to someone who is a minor.”

Tier three: “Content that is targeted specifically at someone that is a minor.”

Tier four: “Content that is targeted specifically at someone who is a minor” in the position to victimize the person.

Tier five: “Content that is targeted specifically at someone who is a minor and demonstrates mental impairment.”

“If the content that you post on Facebook is low-rated in the Community Standards for you, we may not allow you to post it,” the document reads. “Low-rated content includes content that gets people to post, or get other people to engage, against Facebook’s terms of service and policies without being allowed.”

In addition to evaluating how often sensitive content is spread, Facebook also has the ability to adjust how it removes and promotes posts. For example, if content is flagged as “sensitive” in a particular region, Facebook may adjust the situation so that the content is replaced by similar but low-level content.

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