Facebook Will Delete Your Post, Images, Profile Info Based On This New Rule Which Has No Clear Definition!
Facebook will update its Term of Service to add a new line. The updated Terms of Service will come into effect from October 1. The updated Terms of Service will give Facebook the right to remove or restrict access to posts even if those posts do not go against the community guidelines.
Facebook Faces Political Heat: The Backdrop
Facebook has been receiving punches from the governments worldwide. What started as a Russian conspiracy (alleged) in the wake of the US election has snowballed into a full-blown privacy-fake news-manipulation scandal. In India too, Facebook has been facing backlash because of its alleged malpractices.
Recently, Wallstreet Journal published an article where it exposed how Facebook opposed action against a political personality despite violations of hate speech rules. The reasoning was, punishing that personality would hamper the India business of Facebook. After the expose, this issue became quite a big conspiracy – so much so that the representatives of Facebook were summoned before a parliamentary panel.
Facebook Updates Their Terms of Service
It is in this backdrop that facebook is all set to update its Terms on the 1st of October 2020. The updated terms will only have one new line –
“We also can remove or restrict access to your content, services or information if we determine that doing so is reasonably necessary to avoid or mitigate adverse legal or regulatory impacts to Facebook.”
But the implications of this single line can be huge. Basically what it means is –
- Facebook can remove content even if it follows the community guidelines – on the grounds of potential legal troubles.
- Your post might not be seen by people even if it is set to ‘public.’
- Notice the word ‘information’. It implies that even some information on your profile ( not necessarily a post) can be restricted.
The Grey Area, The Ambiguity
The new part of the updated terms and conditions is rather ambiguous in nature. Unlike the community guidelines or hate speech rules, Facebook, here, does not clarify what kinds of posts it thinks to have the potential of putting them into legal troubles.
Secondly, what does Facebook mean when it says that it can restrict access ? Will the general public not be able to access the offending post ? Or, will the violator himself be not able to access his post?
What May Be The Reason Behind Facebook’s New Rule
Let me clarify that Facebook has not given any clarification in this regard. This is my personal opinion.
See, Facebook’s community guidelines are quite clear and on-point. This might give a framework for the Facebook staff to decide whether to delete a certain Facebook post. But it introduces the classic law vs morality problem.
Facebook itself says – “In some cases, we allow content that would otherwise go against our Community Standards – if it is newsworthy and in the public interest.” So it is quite clear that Facebook’s community guidelines will prove insufficient when it comes to content removal.
Let me give you an example. Suppose I live in the Harry Potter World. If I post on Facebook – ‘ Hermione is a mudblood’ – it might be offensive but it does not go against the community guidelines. I am just stating a fact.
So how to solve the problem of the limitation of community guidelines? I can tell the world that even though the above post does not violate the community guidelines, I cannot allow it on Facebook because Hermione can sue us for displaying such disparaging posts about her.
Bottom Line: How Will It Impact You?
If you report offensive posts every now and then – you might have noticed that Facebook does not always remove the post. They say that to remove a post, it should have violated the community standards. By bringing the legal angle, Facebook can now moderate the platform much more aggressively. Let’s see if this makes Facebook safer – both for itself and for the users.
This is a Guest Post by Marifur Rahaman, from Kolkata. He is a Content Marketer, and you can read his views and opinions