Facebook’s Moderation Policy and The Ethics of Social Media

As more and more of our marketing communication turns digital its becoming clear that there needs to be established rules and principles for how consumers and brands interact online. It is the responsibility of every brand to maintain their own website and or social media pages so they that they align with established image and values. However, the question remains as to exactly what level of moderation is required to censor such undesirable visitors that create explicit content. Somewhat accidentally Facebook made a big announcement on their stance towards explicit content for their web pages this week through another set of leaked documents.

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Another leak at Facebook!

I swear it’s as if every second week something controversial gets leaked from this company and they do seem to have a really big problem with keeping confidential information secret.But anyway, the contents of these documents have been shown to have some pretty debatable guidelines for there moderator teams on how to deal with inappropriate content.

According to the documents Facebook instructs its moderators not to remove a lot of explicit content as it can bring attention to certain issues present in society/individuals and create informative news. This has of course created a heated debate online about the legitimacy of the leaked policies and whether they are acceptable for the social media giant. Facebook has come out as saying that safety is their main concern for all their users online and their policies are designed to reflect as much. This all coming from the same company that claimed it could tell when teenagers were vulnerable and allegedly tried to pitch that to the big four banks.

Some interesting ethical questions with this one!

This all got me thinking though, what about the brands/advertisers on Facebook? We all saw what happened to YouTube not long ago when they were shown to host explicit content and that ended in a multi million dollar disaster. Does this incident have the potential to explode like that did?

My gut says no. Facebook has boomed over the last few years and in many ways is a microcosm of society in the physical world. As such businesses advertising on the platform or just maintaining a presence need to expect that just about anything can happen. To illustrate my point, if a business was advertising on a billboard next to a roadway where there was a huge car crash its not as if they have the right to complain to the government that this is ruining their brand image. I suppose in this sense brands need to be sure that Facebook is willing to maintain the online space to the highest ethical standards as would the government of the physical world.

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The Brands of Facebook

Facebook has come out and reinforced their dedication to the safety of their online community which I think means that their heart is in the right place. Whether brands/advertisers find this acceptable in order to potentially have their products advertised next to explicit material only they can say. This issue is only days old however and may still cause a stir with organisations in the near future, so keep an eye out!

As always thanks for stopping by! What do you think of Facebook’s controversial policies? Is it acceptable to maintain explicit content on a social media website for seemingly genuine reasons? How do you think advertisers will react?

Let me know in the comments and Ill see you around the blog!

Some Interesting Links:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/0/facebook-files-leak-know-social-networks-secret-rulebook/

Facebook’s content moderation rules dubbed “alarming” by child safety charity

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-39997579

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Facebook’s Moderation Policy and The Ethics of Social Media”

  1. Interesting post James! I think that nowadays it is impossible for Brands to boycott Facebook like it happens with Youtube, there is so many people on Facebook that it would be madness. However, it is all in the hands on Facebook now to do the effort and keep its content ethical as possible, when required. Because it is also sometimes good to show shocking things too, and I don’t think Facebook should have the power of total censor either. Great topic to be talked about!

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    1. I agree May! no one elected Facebook so why should they govern what we see? Its a difficult issue when you have an unelected organisation with so much power and they definitely need to handle their position with caution

      Like

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