Facebook Rules at a Glance: What’s Banned, Exactly?

Facebook has revealed for the first time just what, exactly, is banned on its service in a new Community Standards document released on Tuesday. It’s an updated version of the internal rules the company has used to determine what’s allowed and what isn’t, down to granular details such as what, exactly, counts as a “credible threat” of violence. The previous public-facing version gave a broad-strokes outline of the rules, but the specifics were shrouded in secrecy for most of Facebook’s 2.2 billion users.

Not anymore. Here are just some examples of what the rules ban. Note: Facebook has not changed the actual rules – it has just made them public.

Credible violence

Is there a real-world threat? Facebook looks for “credible statements of intent to commit violence against any person, groups of people, or place (city or smaller).” Is there a bounty or demand for payment? The mention or an image of a specific weapon? A target and at least two details such as location, method or timing? A statement to commit violence against a vulnerable person or group such as “heads-of-state, witnesses and confidential informants, activists, and journalists.”

Also banned: instructions on “on how to make or use weapons if the goal is to injure or kill people,” unless there is “clear context that the content is for an alternative purpose (for example, shared as part of recreational self-defense activities, training by a country’s military, commercial video games, or news coverage).”

Hate speech

“We define hate speech as a direct attack on people based on what we call protected characteristics – race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity, and serious disability or disease. We also provide some protections for immigration status,” Facebook says. As to what counts as a direct attack, the company says it’s any “violent or dehumanizing speech, statements of inferiority, or calls for exclusion or segregation.” There are three tiers of severity, ranging from comparing a protected group to filth or disease to calls to “exclude or segregate” a person our group based on the protected characteristics. Facebook does note that it does “allow criticism of immigration policies and arguments for restricting those policies.”

Graphic violence

Images of violence against “real people or animals” with comments or captions that contain enjoyment of suffering, humiliation and remarks that speak positively of the violence or “indicating the poster is sharing footage for sensational viewing pleasure” are prohibited. The captions and context matter in this case because Facebook does allow such images in some cases where they are condemned, or shared as news or in a medical setting. Even then, though, the post must be limited so only adults can see them and Facebook adds a warnings screen to the post.

Child sexual exploitation

“We do not allow content that sexually exploits or endangers children. When we become aware of apparent child exploitation, we report it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), in compliance with applicable law. We know that sometimes people share nude images of their own children with good intentions; however, we generally remove these images because of the potential for abuse by others and to help avoid the possibility of other people reusing or misappropriating the images,” Facebook says. Then, it lists at least 12 specific instances of children in a sexual context, saying the ban includes, but is not limited to these examples. This includes “uncovered female nipples for children older than toddler-age.”

Adult nudity and sexual activity

“We understand that nudity can be shared for a variety of reasons, including as a form of protest, to raise awareness about a cause, or for educational or medical reasons. Where such intent is clear, we make allowances for the content. For example, while we restrict some images of female breasts that include the nipple, we allow other images, including those depicting acts of protest, women actively engaged in breast-feeding, and photos of post-mastectomy scarring,” Facebook says. That said, the company says it “defaults” to removing sexual imagery to prevent the sharing of non-consensual or underage content. The restrictions apply to images of real people as well as digitally created content, although art – such as drawings, paintings or sculptures – is an exception.

 

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Facebook Rules at a Glance: What’s Banned, Exactly?

Facebook has revealed for the first time just what, exactly, is banned on its service in a new Community Standards document released on Tuesday. It’s an updated version of the internal rules the company has used to determine what’s allowed and what isn’t, down to granular details such as what, exactly, counts as a “credible threat” of violence. The previous public-facing version gave a broad-strokes outline of the rules, but the specifics were shrouded in secrecy for most of Facebook’s 2.2 billion users.

Not anymore. Here are just some examples of what the rules ban. Note: Facebook has not changed the actual rules – it has just made them public.

Credible violence

Is there a real-world threat? Facebook looks for “credible statements of intent to commit violence against any person, groups of people, or place (city or smaller).” Is there a bounty or demand for payment? The mention or an image of a specific weapon? A target and at least two details such as location, method or timing? A statement to commit violence against a vulnerable person or group such as “heads-of-state, witnesses and confidential informants, activists, and journalists.”

Also banned: instructions on “on how to make or use weapons if the goal is to injure or kill people,” unless there is “clear context that the content is for an alternative purpose (for example, shared as part of recreational self-defense activities, training by a country’s military, commercial video games, or news coverage).”

Hate speech

“We define hate speech as a direct attack on people based on what we call protected characteristics – race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity, and serious disability or disease. We also provide some protections for immigration status,” Facebook says. As to what counts as a direct attack, the company says it’s any “violent or dehumanizing speech, statements of inferiority, or calls for exclusion or segregation.” There are three tiers of severity, ranging from comparing a protected group to filth or disease to calls to “exclude or segregate” a person our group based on the protected characteristics. Facebook does note that it does “allow criticism of immigration policies and arguments for restricting those policies.”

Graphic violence

Images of violence against “real people or animals” with comments or captions that contain enjoyment of suffering, humiliation and remarks that speak positively of the violence or “indicating the poster is sharing footage for sensational viewing pleasure” are prohibited. The captions and context matter in this case because Facebook does allow such images in some cases where they are condemned, or shared as news or in a medical setting. Even then, though, the post must be limited so only adults can see them and Facebook adds a warnings screen to the post.

Child sexual exploitation

“We do not allow content that sexually exploits or endangers children. When we become aware of apparent child exploitation, we report it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), in compliance with applicable law. We know that sometimes people share nude images of their own children with good intentions; however, we generally remove these images because of the potential for abuse by others and to help avoid the possibility of other people reusing or misappropriating the images,” Facebook says. Then, it lists at least 12 specific instances of children in a sexual context, saying the ban includes, but is not limited to these examples. This includes “uncovered female nipples for children older than toddler-age.”

Adult nudity and sexual activity

“We understand that nudity can be shared for a variety of reasons, including as a form of protest, to raise awareness about a cause, or for educational or medical reasons. Where such intent is clear, we make allowances for the content. For example, while we restrict some images of female breasts that include the nipple, we allow other images, including those depicting acts of protest, women actively engaged in breast-feeding, and photos of post-mastectomy scarring,” Facebook says. That said, the company says it “defaults” to removing sexual imagery to prevent the sharing of non-consensual or underage content. The restrictions apply to images of real people as well as digitally created content, although art – such as drawings, paintings or sculptures – is an exception.

 

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Cambridge Analytica Fights Back on Data Scandal

Cambridge Analytica unleashed its counterattack against claims that it misused data from millions of Facebook accounts, saying Tuesday it is the victim of misunderstandings and inaccurate reporting that portrays the company as the evil villain in a James Bond movie.

Clarence Mitchell, a high-profile publicist recently hired to represent the company, held Cambridge Analytica’s first news conference since allegations surfaced that the Facebook data helped Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election. Christopher Wylie, a former employee of Cambridge Analytica’s parent, also claims that the company has links to the successful campaign to take Britain out of the European Union.

“The company has been portrayed in some quarters as almost some Bond villain,” Mitchell said. “Cambridge Analytica is no Bond villain.”

Cambridge Analytica didn’t use any of the Facebook data in the work it did for Trump’s campaign and it never did any work on the Brexit campaign, Mitchell said. Furthermore, he said, the data was collected by another company that was contractually obligated to follow data protection rules and the information was deleted as soon as Facebook raised concerns.

Mitchell insists the company has not broken any laws, but acknowledged it had commissioned an independent investigation is being conducted. He insisted that the company had been victimized by “wild speculation based on misinformation, misunderstanding, or in some cases, frankly, an overtly political position.”

The comments come weeks after the scandal engulfed both the consultancy and Facebook, which has been embroiled in scandal since revelations that Cambridge Analytica misused personal information from as many as 87 million Facebook accounts. Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before the U.S. congressional committees and at one point the company lost some $50 billion in value for its shareholders.

Details on the scandal continued to trickle out. On Tuesday, a Cambridge University academic said the suspended CEO of Cambridge Analytica lied to British lawmakers investigating fake news.

Academic Aleksandr Kogan’s company, Global Science Research, developed a Facebook app that vacuumed up data from people who signed up to use the app as well as information from their Facebook friends, even if those friends hadn’t agreed to share their data.

Cambridge Analytica allegedly used the data to profile U.S. voters and target them with ads during the 2016 election to help elect Donald Trump. It denies the charge.

Kogan appeared before the House of Commons’ media committee Tuesday and was asked whether Cambridge Analytica’s suspended CEO, Alexander Nix, told the truth when he testified that none of the company’s data came from Global Science Research.

“That’s a fabrication,” Kogan told committee Chairman Damian Collins. Nix could not immediately be reached for comment.

Kogan also cast doubt on many of Wylie’s allegations, which have triggered a global debate about internet privacy protections. Wylie repeated his claims in a series of media interviews as well as an appearance before the committee.

Wylie worked for SCL Group Ltd. in 2013 and 2014.

“Mr. Wylie has invented many things,” Kogan said, calling him “duplicitous.”

No matter what, though, Kogan insisted in his testimony that the data would not be that useful to election consultants. The idea was seized upon by Mitchell, who also denied that the company had worked on the effort to have Britain leave the EU.

Mitchell said that the idea that political consultancies can use data alone to sway votes is “frankly insulting to the electorates. Data science in modern campaigning helps those campaigns, but it is still and always will be the candidates who win the races.”

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Reports: Confirmation of Trump’s Pick to Lead VA May Be in Jeopardy

Confirmation of U.S. President Donald Trump’s pick to lead Veterans Affairs agency may be in jeopardy. 

The Washington Post reported late Monday that Senate lawmakers have postponed the confirmation hearing for Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson after top Republicans and Democrats raised concerns about his qualifications. 

Jackson was scheduled to testify before the Senate Committee for Veterans Affairs on Wednesday. 

Two sources told CNN that committee members have been informed of allegations of improper conduct at more than one stage in Jackson’s career. 

Jackson, who currently serves as Trump’s physician, is already facing scrutiny over his lack of experience managing an agency as large as the VA — the U.S. government’s second-largest agency.

Jackson gained a degree of fame unusual for White House physicians in 2017 when he took questions from the White House press corps on national television, discussing at length the president’s physical exam.

Trump, the oldest first-term president in American history, was plagued at the time by questions about his physical health, weight and mental stability. But Jackson gave the president top rating. “The president’s overall health is excellent,” Jackson declared at the time. 

Trump picked Jackson to replace David Shulkin, a holdover from the Obama era.

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Reports: Confirmation of Trump’s Pick to Lead VA May Be in Jeopardy

Confirmation of U.S. President Donald Trump’s pick to lead Veterans Affairs agency may be in jeopardy. 

The Washington Post reported late Monday that Senate lawmakers have postponed the confirmation hearing for Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson after top Republicans and Democrats raised concerns about his qualifications. 

Jackson was scheduled to testify before the Senate Committee for Veterans Affairs on Wednesday. 

Two sources told CNN that committee members have been informed of allegations of improper conduct at more than one stage in Jackson’s career. 

Jackson, who currently serves as Trump’s physician, is already facing scrutiny over his lack of experience managing an agency as large as the VA — the U.S. government’s second-largest agency.

Jackson gained a degree of fame unusual for White House physicians in 2017 when he took questions from the White House press corps on national television, discussing at length the president’s physical exam.

Trump, the oldest first-term president in American history, was plagued at the time by questions about his physical health, weight and mental stability. But Jackson gave the president top rating. “The president’s overall health is excellent,” Jackson declared at the time. 

Trump picked Jackson to replace David Shulkin, a holdover from the Obama era.

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China Tech Firms Pledge to End Sexist Job Ads

Chinese tech firms pledged on Monday to tackle gender bias in recruitment after a rights group said they routinely favored male candidates, luring applicants with the promise of working with “beautiful girls” in job advertisements.

A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report found that major technology companies including Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent had widely used “gender discriminatory job advertisements,” which said men were preferred or specifically barred women applicants.

Some ads promised candidates they would work with “beautiful girls” and “goddesses,” HRW said in a report based on an analysis of 36,000 job posts between 2013 and 2018.

Tencent, which runs China’s most popular messenger app WeChat, apologized for the ads after the HRW report was published on Monday.

“We are sorry they occurred and we will take swift action to ensure they do not happen again,” a Tencent spokesman told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

E-commerce giant Alibaba, founded by billionaire Jack Ma, vowed to conduct stricter reviews to ensure its job ads followed workplace equality principles, but refused to say whether the ads singled out in the report were still being used.

“Our track record of not just hiring but promoting women in leadership positions speaks for itself,” said a spokeswoman.

Baidu, the Chinese equivalent of search engine Google, meanwhile said the postings were “isolated instances.”

HRW urged Chinese authorities to take action to end discriminatory hiring practices.

Its report also found nearly one in five ads for Chinese government jobs this year were “men only” or “men preferred.”

“Sexist job ads pander to the antiquated stereotypes that persist within Chinese companies,” HRW China director Sophie Richardson said in a statement.

“These companies pride themselves on being forces of modernity and progress, yet they fall back on such recruitment strategies, which shows how deeply entrenched discrimination against women remains in China,” she added.

China was ranked 100 out of 144 countries in the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Gender Gap Report, after it said the country’s progress towards gender parity has slowed.

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China Tech Firms Pledge to End Sexist Job Ads

Chinese tech firms pledged on Monday to tackle gender bias in recruitment after a rights group said they routinely favored male candidates, luring applicants with the promise of working with “beautiful girls” in job advertisements.

A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report found that major technology companies including Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent had widely used “gender discriminatory job advertisements,” which said men were preferred or specifically barred women applicants.

Some ads promised candidates they would work with “beautiful girls” and “goddesses,” HRW said in a report based on an analysis of 36,000 job posts between 2013 and 2018.

Tencent, which runs China’s most popular messenger app WeChat, apologized for the ads after the HRW report was published on Monday.

“We are sorry they occurred and we will take swift action to ensure they do not happen again,” a Tencent spokesman told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

E-commerce giant Alibaba, founded by billionaire Jack Ma, vowed to conduct stricter reviews to ensure its job ads followed workplace equality principles, but refused to say whether the ads singled out in the report were still being used.

“Our track record of not just hiring but promoting women in leadership positions speaks for itself,” said a spokeswoman.

Baidu, the Chinese equivalent of search engine Google, meanwhile said the postings were “isolated instances.”

HRW urged Chinese authorities to take action to end discriminatory hiring practices.

Its report also found nearly one in five ads for Chinese government jobs this year were “men only” or “men preferred.”

“Sexist job ads pander to the antiquated stereotypes that persist within Chinese companies,” HRW China director Sophie Richardson said in a statement.

“These companies pride themselves on being forces of modernity and progress, yet they fall back on such recruitment strategies, which shows how deeply entrenched discrimination against women remains in China,” she added.

China was ranked 100 out of 144 countries in the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Gender Gap Report, after it said the country’s progress towards gender parity has slowed.

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New NASA Boss Gets ‘Hearty Congratulations’ From Space

NASA’s new boss is already getting cheers from space.

 

Immediately after being sworn into office Monday by Vice President Mike Pence, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine took a call from the three U.S. astronauts at the International Space Station who offered “hearty congratulations.” The Oklahoma congressman became the 13th administrator of NASA, filling a position that had been vacant for more than a year.

 

“America loves what you guys are doing,” Bridenstine, a former naval aviator, told the astronauts. He promised to do his best “as we reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind.”

 

This is the 60th anniversary year for NASA .

 

Bridenstine is the first elected official to lead NASA, something that had bogged down his nomination last year by President Donald Trump. The Senate approved his nomination last week by a narrow vote of 50-49. Monday’s swearing-in ceremony took place at NASA headquarters in Washington.

 

Pence noted that the space agency, under Bridenstine’s direction, will work to get astronauts back to the moon and then, with help from commercial space and international partners, on to Mars.

 

“NASA will lead the way,” said Pence, who heads the newly resurrected National Space Council.

 

Charles Bolden Jr., a former space shuttle commander and major general in the Marines, was NASA’s last official administrator. The space agency was led by Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot in the interim. Lightfoot retires from NASA at the end of this month.

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New NASA Boss Gets ‘Hearty Congratulations’ From Space

NASA’s new boss is already getting cheers from space.

 

Immediately after being sworn into office Monday by Vice President Mike Pence, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine took a call from the three U.S. astronauts at the International Space Station who offered “hearty congratulations.” The Oklahoma congressman became the 13th administrator of NASA, filling a position that had been vacant for more than a year.

 

“America loves what you guys are doing,” Bridenstine, a former naval aviator, told the astronauts. He promised to do his best “as we reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind.”

 

This is the 60th anniversary year for NASA .

 

Bridenstine is the first elected official to lead NASA, something that had bogged down his nomination last year by President Donald Trump. The Senate approved his nomination last week by a narrow vote of 50-49. Monday’s swearing-in ceremony took place at NASA headquarters in Washington.

 

Pence noted that the space agency, under Bridenstine’s direction, will work to get astronauts back to the moon and then, with help from commercial space and international partners, on to Mars.

 

“NASA will lead the way,” said Pence, who heads the newly resurrected National Space Council.

 

Charles Bolden Jr., a former space shuttle commander and major general in the Marines, was NASA’s last official administrator. The space agency was led by Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot in the interim. Lightfoot retires from NASA at the end of this month.

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Pence Picks Kellogg to Serve as National Security Adviser

Vice President Mike Pence has chosen retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, a top official with the National Security Council, to serve as his national security adviser.

 

Pence selected Kellogg, a national security aide to President Donald Trump, to fill the role after his top choice, Jon Lerner, withdrew his name from consideration.

 

Lerner, an adviser to U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, pulled out of a proposed dual role after Trump learned of his planned hiring. Lerner is a longtime Republican strategist and pollster who previously worked with the Club for Growth, which aired ads critical of Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

 

Pence said in a statement that Kellogg “brings a wealth of experience in national security and foreign policy matters to this role and has already been an integral part of the President’s national security team.”

 

Kellogg has served as chief of staff at the National Security Council and is the latest NSC official to depart after the arrival of Trump national security adviser John Bolton. Also gone are spokesman Michael Anton, homeland security adviser Tom Bossert, and deputy national security advisers Ricky Waddell and Nadia Schadlow.

 

Kellogg served as acting national security adviser after Michael Flynn resigned in February 2017 as Trump’s first national security adviser. Flynn’s successor, H.R. McMaster, was recently replaced by Bolton.

 

Kellogg, who served in the U.S. Army for more than three decades, previously served as commander of the 82nd Airborne Division and as a top aide to Paul Bremer, who led the Coalition Provisional Authority during the reconstruction of Iraq.

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