Webwatch: Facebook announces new tools to tackle bullying and harassment
Facebook has announced new tools it says will help users combat bullying and harassment on the social media site.
The tools will allow users to hide or delete multiple comments from posts at once, and the site is testing a feature that would block offensive words from appearing in comments.
The new moderation tools, due to roll out in the coming months, will enable users to “better control unwanted, offensive or hurtful experiences on Facebook”, the site’s head of safety Antigone Davis said.
Facebook has been repeatedly criticised in the past over its handling of abusive and offensive content.
Recent research by Ofcom and the Information Commissioner’s Office found that 45% of UK adults had experienced some form of online harm.
Ms Davis said Facebook would also make it easier for harassment and bullying to be reported, by allowing friends or family to do it anonymously on someone else’s behalf.
“Being the target of unwanted attention can be stressful and some people may not feel comfortable reporting a bully or harasser,” she said.
“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.”
An existing review appeal process will be extended to content linked to harassment and bullying, meaning action taken by Facebook against posts can be appealed against and a second review requested.
“We hope the additional steps we’re taking will help people who face bullying and harassment on Facebook,” Ms Davis said.
“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.”
On Friday, Facebook revealed it had suffered a security breach affecting 50 million users worldwide after the site’s engineers discovered a “security issue” which allowed hackers to easily collect access tokens from affected accounts.
The tokens work as digital keys, letting those who hold them log into Facebook accounts without entering a password.
Investigators at the Irish Data Protection Commission, the lead supervisory authority for Facebook in the EU, are looking into the incident, which could see the social media site issued with a maximum fine of £1.26 billion if the firm is found to have breached data protection regulations.
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