Facebook announced Wednesday that it will begin removing explicit sexualizing content targeted at public figures as part a revised update to its bullying- and harassment policies. These policy changes include coordinated harassment attacks on users.
Facebook announced that it will remove profiles, pages and groups of people who sexually exploit public figures. This includes politicians, celebrities, content creators, and politicians. Antigone Davis, the global head of safety for Facebook, stated in a blog post that the new policy prohibits sexualized photos and drawings as well as any degrading content in bodily functions.
Facebook stated that it will remove inappropriate sexualized comments and repeated attacks on an individual sexually.
These changes were made because of the potential for attacks on public figures.
Davis shared the Wednesday blog post that public figures, whether they are journalists, politicians, or celebrities, use Instagram and Facebook to interact directly with their followers. These changes were made because of attacks like this that can be used to weaponize public figures' appearances, which is often unrelated to their work.
Frances Haugen, a whistleblower who testified in Congress last week, announced Facebook's policy. The hearing last Tuesday was focused on reports from Wall Street Journal which revealed that Facebook executives knew of the potential harm its platform could cause to users, particularly teenagers. Haugen will testify in the UK Parliament this month.
Wednesday's update includes new language that prohibits large-scale, coordinated attacks against users who are at a higher risk of offline harm. This applies even if messages or posts do not violate Facebooks content policies. This update applies to posts on Facebook and Instagram as well as direct messages to individuals such government dissidents and victims of violent attacks.
Twitch introduced new tools last month to combat creator harassment, including chat verification options and phone numbers. Twitch also announced improvements to its email verification system in order to give creators greater control over chat viewers. A single number can only have five accounts, which limits the possibility of harassing a creator.