Facebook pledges fewer content removals, new criteria as yet unclear

Mon Oct 31, 2016 1:36pm EDT
 
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By Gwladys Fouche

OSLO (Reuters) - Facebook will allow more content on its platform that it would have earlier removed because it violated its standards, with new criteria being worked out, a senior executive said on Monday, following a row over the removal of an iconic Vietnam War photo.

His comments came on the same day that more than 70 rights groups asked Facebook to clarify its policies for removing content, especially at the behest of governments, alleging the firm had repeatedly censored postings that document human rights violations.

Only a month ago, the company and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg came into conflict after Facebook deleted the photo of a naked Vietnamese girl fleeing a napalm attack, called "The Terror of War".

Solberg posted the photograph on her Facebook page after the company had deleted it from the sites of a Norwegian author and the newspaper Aftenposten, which mounted a front-page campaign urging Facebook to permit publication.

"We have made a number of policy changes after The Terror of War photo. We have improved our escalation process to ensure that controversial stories and images get surfaced more quickly," said Patrick Walker, Facebook's director of media partnership for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

"(And) in the weeks ahead, we are going to begin allowing more items that people find newsworthy, significant or important to the public interest, even if they might otherwise violate our standards," Walker told a meeting of the Association of Norwegian Editors in Oslo, to which he was invited following the row.

DOMINANT ROLE   Continued...

 
A picture shows the Facebook logo at the Facebook office in Berlin, Germany, August 29, 2016. REUTERS/Stefanie Loos