It needs to be remembered above all else that moderation is, in the case of Facebook, a job performed by real people and that they can be greatly effected by the sinister things they see in order to do their jobs. “Pedophelia, Necrophelia, Beheadings, Suicides, etc,” he remembered. “I left [because] I value my mental sanity” one such ex-Facebook moderator told Jim Cooke in 2012.
If it wasn’t for people like that moderator and others, like Amine Derkaoui, we would have little clue about Facebook’s moderation policies. Their Community Standards are certainly vague enough to ensure us avid users that yes, Facebook is keeping the nasties away, but doesn’t say how exactly it is doing so. Derkaoui was once a moderator for Facebook and for way less then minimum wage (the base rate is $1 US an hour) it was his job to look for and delete anything that was seen as a breach of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.
“Facebook has fashioned itself the clean, well-lit alternative to the scary open Internet for both users and advertisers” -Chen 2012
So what guidelines did Derkaoui have to follow to keep up this squeaky clean image? Some really, really strict ones as it turns out.
Now some of these are, one would hope, quite self explanatory. No tolerance of serious issues such as child pornography and racial slurs are to be expected and, by most, welcomed. Some of the other guidelines, however, are more ambiguous. Digital/cartoon nudity is not allowed but ‘art nudity’ is, deep flesh wounds are “ok” to show, as is excessive blood.
What I personally don’t understand about these ‘violations’ is that “sleeping people with things drawn on their faces” is not allowed, nor is female nipples, but crushed heads and limbs are perfectly fine. For a website striving to appear PG-13 in terms of content, their leniency on gory images is perplexing.
Chen, A 2012. “Facebook Releases New Content Guidelines, Now Allows Bodily Fluids.” Gawker, 16 Feb. 2012. <http://gawker.com/5885836/> (accessed 14 May 2015).
Chen, A 2012. “Inside Facebook’s Outsourced Anti-Porn and Gore Brigade, where ‘Camel Toes’ are More Offensive than ‘Crushed Heads.’” Gawker, 16 Feb. 2012. <http://gawker.com/5885714/ >(accessed 14 May 2015).
Lynskey, J 2013. “The Real Story Behind Facebook Moderation and Your Petty Reports”, The Internet Offends Me, April 9 2013. <https://theinternetoffendsme.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/the-real-story-behind-facebook-moderation-and-your-petty-reports/> (accessed 14 May 2015).