Facebook is causing a stir on the internet this week after its internal rules for monitoring live-stream videos and other content were exposed publicly.
The popular social media site has been facing criticism for the violent content that has come out of its new live-streaming video feature. Some of these videos have shown teens committing suicide and people abusing or killing other people.
The Guardian, which investigated the mega-company, reported a list of rules and guidelines that Facebook gives to its content monitors. One of the rules allows videos of abortions as long as there is no nudity, according to the report.
Facebook allows users to live stream acts of self-harm, post videos of violent deaths, pictures of certain kinds of child abuse, and even a video of an abortion — unless it contains nudity in which case Facebook’s army of moderators will automatically take it down.
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These are just a fraction of the rules Facebook moderators use as they battle to strike a balance between freedom of speech and avoiding causing harm in the real world. The rules have been revealed in over “100 internal training manuals, spreadsheets and flowcharts” reviewed by the Guardian and published on the newspaper’s website.
There are two sides to the abortion video rule that could result in potentially good or bad content.
On the negative side, women or abortion practitioners could post videos online showing them abort unborn babies, a gruesome violent act. Of course, they would have to do so in such a way as to not show nudity. But abortion activists could take advantage of this rule in their on-going attempts to “normalize” abortion.
In 2014, New Jersey abortion activist Emily Letts filmed her abortion and posted it on YouTube. She said she wanted to “show it wasn’t scary” and “there is such a thing as a positive abortion story. It’s my story.”
LifeNews also has written about dangerous online tutorials that teach women how to kill their unborn babies and make it look like a miscarriage. One video instructed women to throw themselves onto a fire hydrant, stomach first, to abort their unborn baby, and another said pregnant women could throw themselves down a flight of stairs.
The positive side is that the rule also protects pro-life educational videos from being removed. Online videos can be effective ways to educate the public about the violent, life-destroying nature of abortion. These videos provide information that the abortion industry does not want women to see.
For example, the Abortion Procedures video series with Dr. Anthony Levatino uses medically accurate drawings to show how the different abortion methods kill unborn babies in the womb. The series already has helped to educate millions of online viewers about the horrors of abortion.
Facebook officials said they want to the monitoring rules to be a balance of free speech and safety.
Monika Bickert, head of global policy management for Facebook, told Vice: “We work hard to make Facebook as safe as possible while enabling free speech. This requires a lot of thought into detailed and often difficult questions, and getting it right is something we take very seriously.”
She said Facebook has almost 2 billion users, and the company leaders often debate what type of content to allow.
“We have a really diverse global community and people are going to have very different ideas about what is OK to share,” Bickert told the Guardian. “No matter where you draw the line there are always going to be some gray areas.”