Many Facebook users can expect to see more graphic content appearing on their feeds over the next few months. While the social network isn’t about to allow images of violence and nudity, it will consider them if they’re significant or important to the public interest.
In a blog post by two of the company’s VPs – Joel Kaplan and Justin Osofsky – Facebook announced it intends to allow more newsworthy images and stories that may violate its terms of service, but “without posing safety risks or showing graphic images to minors and others who do not want to see them.” The company said it would achieve this by working with its community and partners.
The move comes after Facebook endured a barrage of criticism last month for removing the iconic “Napalm Girl” photo. A Norwegian writer included the image in a post called “seven photographs that changed the history of warfare,” which resulted in Facebook removing the post and suspending Tom Egeland's account.
Aftenposten, Norway’s largest newspaper, published a story about the incident and included the famous photo on its FB page. Facebook demanded it be removed or pixelized, but the site deleted the image and article before Aftenposten could respond.
A few weeks later, Facebook came under fire once again, this time for removing a post about breast cancer from French newspaper Le Monde because it featured a photo of a woman having a mammogram. Her breast is exposed in the image.
Mark Zuckerberg’s organization apologized for the mistake but removed yet another breast cancer awareness post, this time a video, just last week. Facebook informed the Swedish Cancer Society: “Your ad cannot market sex products or services nor adults products or services.” The group evaded the anti-nudity policy by turning the round, animated breasts in the video into squares.
Facebook may be allowing more “potentially offensive” content on its site, but Donald Trump’s posts are still causing controversy. The Wall Street Journal claims certain company employee’s wanted some of the Republican candidate’s posts removed because they violated the site’s Terms and Conditions regarding hate speech. It was reportedly Mark Zuckerberg - fresh from defending Peter Thiel’s right to support Trump - who decided not to remove the messages.