Facebook might stop censoring some newsworthy content

Social network's about-turn comes after censoring Vietnam photo

Facebook has pledged to not ban images that are newsworthy, even if they break the social network's community standards.

In a blog post,  Joel Kaplan, VP of global public policy, and Justin Osofsky, VP of global operations, said they intend to allow people to share stories that may violate Facebook's community standards, after gathering feedback from the site's community and partners.

The social network came under fire last month for censoring a famous image from the Vietnam war, in which a naked nine-year-old girl runs away from a napalm attack, leading to a Norwegian newspaper accusing CEO Mark Zuckerberg of "abusing [his] power".

Facebook's post read: "Whether an image is newsworthy or historically significant is highly subjective. Images of nudity or violence that are acceptable in one part of the world may be offensive - or even illegal - in another.

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"Respecting local norms and upholding global practices often come into conflict. And people often disagree about what standards should be in place to ensure a community that is both safe and open to expression."

However, Kaplan and Osofsky plan to allow users to share more items that are considered "newsworthy, significant, or important to the public interest" even if they break the standards.

Further details about these slight tweaks in Facebook's community standards are likely to be revealed in future, as the social media platform is still deciding how to do this without exposing people to content they don't want to see.

Kaplan and Osofsky's post added: "As always, our goal is to channel our community's values, and to make sure our policies reflect our community's interests. We're looking forward to working closely with experts, publishers, journalists, photographers, law enforcement officials and safety advocates about how to do better when it comes to the kinds of items we allow."

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