Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, California (2019)
Photo: JOSH EDELSON / AFP
In order to better protect them from harassment and bullying, Facebook wants to classify activists and journalists as "involuntary" public figures in the future, according to a report by the Reuters news agency.
The social media company, which has around 2.8 billion active users, allows more criticism of public figures than of private individuals.
But now, according to Reuters, Facebook is changing its approach to harassing journalists and "human rights defenders" who are in public because of their work and not because of their personal interest.
Facebook is repeatedly criticized by politics and supervisory authorities around the world for its content moderation practices on its platforms.
Most recently, Facebook's practice was the subject of a hearing in the US Senate following a whistleblower's tip.
Users are no longer allowed to claim the death of journalists
When it comes to protecting online discussions, Facebook differentiates between public figures and private individuals: For example, users can generally demand the death of a prominent person in discussions on the platform, as long as they do not highlight or directly mention them.
You cannot claim the death of a private individual, or now a journalist, according to Facebook guidelines.
The company declined to publish a list of other involuntary public figures, saying they would decide on a case-by-case basis.
Earlier this year, Facebook announced that it would remove content that celebrated, praised, or mocked the death of George Floyd for being considered an involuntary public figure.
Facebook's global user safety manager Antigone Davis said the company is also expanding the types of attacks against public figures on its websites to reduce attacks disproportionately exposed to women, people of color and the LGBTQ community .
Facebook will no longer allow severe and undesirable sexualizing content, derogatory sexualized Photoshop images or drawings, or direct negative attacks on a person's appearance, for example in comments on a public figure's profile.
jso / Reuters