Protecting People from Bullying and Harassment

Expert Speak

Everyone deserves to feel safe on Facebook, and it’s important that we help people who encounter bullying and harassment online. Today, we’re introducing new tools and programs so people can better control unwanted, offensive or hurtful experiences on Facebook.

New comment moderation, reporting, and appeal tools
We are giving you more control over how people interact with your posts on Facebook because comments can sometimes be used to bully or harass people. We’re introducing a way for people to hide or delete multiple comments at once from the options menu of their post. This feature is rolling out on desktop and Android and will be available on iOS in the coming months. We are also testing ways to more easily search for and block offensive words from appearing in comments.

Being the target of unwanted attention can be stressful and some people may not feel comfortable reporting a bully or harasser. In other cases, bullying or harassment happens out of sight from victims. If you see a friend or family member being bullied or harassed, now you can report someone on their behalf via the menu above the post that you are concerned about. Once reported, our Community Operations team will review the post, keep your report anonymous, and determine whether it violates our Community Standards.

People will also be able to appeal decisions on cases involving bullying and harassment. Earlier this year we announced a process that allows people to request another review of their photo, video or post that has been taken down for violating our Community Standards for nudity, sexual activity, hate speech or graphic violence. We have now extended these reviews to bullying and harassment violations – this means that if your content has been taken down for bullying or harassment, you will have the opportunity to request another review. Similarly, you will soon be able to ask for a second review if you report a piece of content for bullying or harassment and you think we made a mistake and didn’t take it down.

Better protections for public figures
Our bullying and harassment policies protect private individuals, but we permit open and critical discussion of people who are featured in the news or have a large public audience based on their profession or chosen activities. We’ve talked to people who use Facebook as well as safety experts to find ways we can better protect these public figures from harassment. Earlier this year, we expanded our policies to guard against the harassment of young public figures on Facebook. In the coming weeks, we will further expand our policies to better protect public figures against harassment regardless of age. For example, severe attacks that directly engage a public figure will not be allowed under the new policy. If anyone experiences unwanted behavior on Facebook, they can report the person who is bullying or harassing them, anonymously ignore unwanted messages, and block someone without them being notified.

Partnerships and education
People around the world participate in Facebook’s online safety and anti-bullying programs, built in partnership with experts and community organizations. We recently introduced a new partnership with the National Parent Teachers Association in the US to facilitate 200 community events in cities in every state to address tech-related challenges faced by families, including bullying prevention. Working with partners, we also offer a peer-to-peer online safety and anti-bullying program to every secondary school in the UK. And we support a program in India that has educated tens of thousands of young people about online safety, thoughtful sharing, and privacy and security.

We hope the additional steps we’re taking will help people who face bullying and harassment on Facebook. We know our job is never done when it comes to keeping people safe, and we’ll continue listening to feedback on how we can build better tools and improve our policies.

Written by Antigone Davis, FOSI Board Member, Head of Global Safety at Facebook

Comments