In the first third of the article, we focus on the sections of the Community Standards which affect the general populous; this section is useful for everybody. In the second third of the article, we focus on specific social groups and the difficulties they face (such as women or people belonging to a minority group), while in the last section, we look at cases affecting children and teenagers.

1. General Security Measures

Rights to images and privacy

Facebook has come a long way protecting their users with ever-evolving AI which track down inappropriate photos and posts. From face recognition software to censorship bots, there are countless safety measures which scan our news feeds for information. Granted, this practice is rather handy for Facebook as they benefit from our data, but we are fine with this as we all agreed to giving away a bit of our personal information when we registered to the website.

Unfortunately, Facebook can’t help us with everything all the time, there are some things that we have to take care of ourselves. This section of the Community Standards places a huge emphasis on how we are not to share any ID digits, home addresses, or even pictures of our homes. There may be unforeseeable consequences even if you decide to upload a picture of last Saturday’s grill party. If you are like most Facebook users, you should consider checking out your, and your loved ones’ old posts to make sure their online presence on Facebook is appropriate. If you think that keeping these guidelines in mind is a chore and you don’t know how to get started, there are companies which are willing to help, such as BrandYourself. Who knows, cleaning up your news feed may help you land that new job that you really want, or might even prevent a burglary.

Promoting violence

Violence is a sensitive topic for all of us, understandably. However, violence on Facebook reaches us in a different way, as it appears in our safe spaces, be it our phones, computers, or even our homes. Users who post images or comments depicting and/or supporting violence receive lengthy bans on the website, but as disturbing content is relative, there are other countermeasures available, as well. In some cases, where the content is not inherently ill-willed, the post is simply blurred with a “Sensitive Content” tag. Upon clicking the blurred area, users may choose to view the content or leave it as it is. Such options ensure that all users receive the experience that they desire. If someone would want more security on the internet, then we recommend reading up on Google’s SafeSearch settings.

Other harmful content

Just because something is not disturbing or violent, it doesn’t mean that it’s not harmful. Facebook has taken very serious actions against the spreading of False News and Manipulated media on their platform. Content which is found to be manipulated for any reason receives a tag with the source of the medium, along with a proper explanation of what is (mis)represented. This post, for instance, from 2021, claims to depict a reindeer in Finland, with reflective paint on its antlers so drives may spot them easier on the roads. The story is true, but the image linked is actually from an artist’s digital portfolio. This post may seem harmful at first, (in regards to fake news) but in fact, it is rather useful. It helps us realize how much we tend to let our guards down on the internet and believe most of the things we see without stopping and thinking for a second. The previous generations had the “they said so on the radio” and the “they said so on the telly” excuses which are by now ridiculous remarks. We owe it to ourselves to make sure that we won’t be branded as the “they said so on the internet” generation.

2. Humanitarian Security Measures

Violence is, unfortunately, a general phenomenon experienced by everyone, but some are more exposed to it than others. The reasons behind which groups are affected are culturally and socially different, but women, people of colour, and LGBTQIA+ people tend to always suffer the majority of hate-crimes. Marginalized groups would often find respite on online forums, forming their own communities which nowadays would be referred to as “safe spaces”. In this digital age, however, even these platforms have been invaded by individuals who do not share the users’ sentiments, and pose a threat to these communities. If, by chance, such an occurrence would take place on Facebook, these users would be promptly removed from the platform as it is against the rules to discriminate or incite violence against these marginalized groups. These threats are taken especially seriously, because cyber-bullying can easily lead to real-life consequences.

3. Child Protection Security Measures

Children belong to a whole other category when it comes to rules, regulations, and even, laws. Facebook takes children’s rights so seriously, that they can’t even register under the age of 13. The deceiving nature of the internet is packaged for children in a way that they do not realize the fact that they are in danger. Just think about the Tide Pod “Challenge”, the Blue Whale,
or the Whip-it incidents in America. (You might be able to notice a pattern when it comes to dangerous phenomena being disguised as something harmless at first sight.) With so many online threats affecting children, it is no wonder that Facebook wants to prevent any sort of violence being manifested in real life, be it peer on peer violence or mental health issues. If you or anyone you know suffers from anxiety, depression, eating disorders, or other psychological disorders then this section could prove to be a helpful read for you.

Online purchases

As it is demonstrated in the previous section, children are an easy target and they are not exempt from advertisements. If parents are not careful, their children might end up spending a fortune on virtual or physical goods. Some of these items might even be dangerous, and if you are a parent wondering what you can do to ensure your child’s and your own safety, then this part of the Community Standards is for you.

Sexual exploitation

This section is all parents’ nightmare. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry. Facebook has already covered almost all grounds, even to the point of contacting local authorities in case of any suspicious activity. One piece of advice that we can add is that you should think twice what kind of photos or information you share about your children. Social media is not a place for young children, despite all the security measures.

Facebook does everything in their power to provide safe and enjoyable user experience for everyone. The aim of this article is not fear-mongering, but raising awareness to the rules and regulations which exist to aid you on your journey in the cyberspace.

Background illustration: Photo by Luca Sammarco from Pexels / Pexels license