Facebook announced today that they have released their own internal content guidelines and will begin allowing users to appeal the removal of their posts. What does this mean for photographers? Hopefully, it's an end to years of ambiguity and frustration.
First, Facebook has significantly expanded their community standards by lifting the veil and giving users a look at their internal processes for what constitutes a violation. I'm married to a boudoir photographer, so my first order of business was to check the nudity rules, which remain largely unchanged, but are far more descriptive than before. Case in point, I was previously unaware that nude buttocks are perfectly acceptable if "Photoshopped onto a public figure."
These newly expanded guidelines give photographers a clearer picture of not only the rules themselves, but some of the reasons behind them. Thankfully, this makes it easier to color within the lines now that those lines are better defined. For example, the Free the Nipple movement can post images of their topless protests without fear of removal, but cannot post images of nude breasts in most other contexts. I'm not sure if they would consider that a win or not.
The release of these internal guidelines covers Facebook content top to bottom, from hate speech to graphic violence and everything in between. They also cover Facebook's stance on intellectual property and reassure us all that we own the copyright to our own work.
The Appeals Process
In my studio, we are always careful to abide by the code of conduct for whatever media platform we're using: their sandbox, their rules. Because of this, it has been unendingly frustrating to have posts removed that were not in violation of those guidelines. Facebook is looking to change that by allowing users to appeal their decisions and request a second review. This new process will start with posts removed for nudity/sexuality, hate speech, and graphic violence, and they intend to expand it to include other violation types.
As Facebook's policies evolve, they will be releasing a searchable archive of their guidelines so users can track changes over time.
Lead image credit: Pexels user JÉSHOOTS, used under Creative Commons.