herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

Facebook's gore, nudity and drug rules leaked

THE rules Facebook uses to censor users' postings have been published for the first time, detailing its more liberal attitude to gore than to nudity.

A disgruntled former moderator has also told of how Facebook uses outsourced staff in developing countries to moderate the huge volume of material its users upload every day.

A document tells them to delete "any OBVIOUS sexual activity, even if naked parts are hidden from view".

Meanwhile, "deep flesh wounds are ok to show; excessive blood is ok" and "crushed heads, limbs, etc are ok as long as no insides are showing".

Ear wax

"Slurs or racial comments of any kind" should be deleted, it says, but "humour overrules hate speech UNLESS slurs are used or humour is not evident", meaning that comments reported to Facebook as hate speech should remain online if they are judged to be in jest and do not include racial slurs.

The rules are used by the third party firm to screen photographs, text and videos that have been "flagged" by one of Facebook's 850 million users.

Until now, users have been forced to rely on Facebook's relatively vague community standards on what is acceptable.

The leaked rules for moderators are much more specific. For example, images of "urine, faeces, vomit, semen and ear wax" are banned, but images of "snot" are allowed.

Meanwhile, depictions of illegal drug use should be deleted, moderators are told, except marijuana, "unless context is clear that the poster is selling/buying/growing".

The rules were passed to the US gossip website Gawker.com by a disgruntled former employee of the third party firm, who said the $1 (70c) per hour he received for screening Facebook photographs was "humiliating".

hnews@herald.ie

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