Facebook announced Wednesday that it would begin removing “seriously sexualizing content” targeting public figures as part of a new update to its bullying and harassment policy. The policy changes also include coordinated harassment attacks against users.
As part of this new policy update, Facebook said it would remove any profiles, pages, groups or events devoted to sexualizing public figures, including celebrities, politicians and content creators. The new policy prohibits sexualized photoshops and drawings and any degrading content “in the process of bodily functions,” Antigone Davis, global head of safety at Facebook, said in a blog post on Wednesday.
Facebook also said it would remove “unwanted sexualized commentary” and repeated attacks that sexually harass a person.
“Public figures — be they politicians, journalists, celebrities or creators — use Facebook and Instagram to connect directly with their followers,” Davis wrote in Wednesday’s blog post. “We made these changes because attacks like these can weaponize the appearance of a public figure, which is unnecessary and often unrelated to the work these public figures represent.”
Facebook’s policy announcement comes after whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before Congress last week. Last Tuesday’s hearing focused on a series of reports from the… Wall Street Journal That revealed that Facebook executives were aware of the harm the platform could do to users, especially teenagers. Haugen is expect to testify before the British Parliament later this month.
Wednesday’s update also includes a new language that prohibits major, coordinated attacks against users who are at “increased risk of offline harm” even if the posts or posts don’t violate Facebook’s content policies. This update includes Facebook and Instagram posts and direct messages sent to individuals such as government dissidents or victims of violent attacks.
Last month, Twitch added new tools to combat creator harassment on its platform, including phone number verification options for chats. The streaming platform also announced changes to its email verification system to give creators more control over the viewers chatting. Users are allowed to put up to five accounts on one phone number, limiting the number of accounts that can be created to harass a creator.