Facebook has released a statement in which alludes to the controversy over censorship of content on the social network in recent months. In it they explain that will be more lenient with those contents that are relevant to current or important to the public interest “even if they violate our standards.”
The last most recent case was the censorship of the famous historic photograph of the girl napalm. From now on, Facebook will be more permissive with this type of content that had previously been censured for “violent” or “pornographic”.
Specifically, this is what you say in your statement:
In the coming weeks, we will begin to allow more content that people consider newsworthy, significant or important to the public interest, even if otherwise violate our standards. Our intent is to allow more images and stories without involving security risks or graphics to minors or others who do not want to see them displaying images.
In that same statement, Facebook acknowledges that it is difficult to maintain standards in a world where the same picture may be illegal in one country and completely normal in another. “And people often do not agree on what standards should prevail in a community that is safe and that fosters freedom of expression,” they add.
And what will you do about it? In addition to not block content that is likely to be news or art (even if containing nudity or violence), it seems they are working on tools to make or minors or people who do not want to be exposed to such images have to see them on the wall.
The problem of “public interest”
It is great that Facebook has recognized this problem and will put action to fix it for the benefit of present and news events. However, there is something dangerous here, that Facebook is deciding what is in the public interest and not for the more than 1,700 million people using social network worldwide.
We can not forget that Facebook remains a free service, but it is still certainly controversial algorithms that are those who decide what is important and what is not, so you will reach your wall or you will not see many people. It is hard to think of conspiracy theories when a social network monopolizes the power to control what much of the population knows and what not. And today’s announcement does nothing to recognize that power to decide what is “public interest”.