Decision Maker Response

Facebook’s response

Dec 8, 2015 — To Julie and everyone who signed the petition,

We value feedback from our community and want to thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us.

There is no place on Facebook for terrorists, terrorist propaganda or the praising of terror. Our Community Standards (https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards) make this clear and we work aggressively to ensure that we do not have terrorists or terror groups using the site.

Our goal is to give people a place to share and connect with one another. For that to happen, they need to know we are working to keep them safe on Facebook. That’s why we have strict rules that outline what is not acceptable. This includes our clear ban on anything that promotes terrorism.

The best tool we have to keep terrorist content off Facebook is our vigilant community of more than 1.5 billion people who are very good at letting us know when something is not right. There are billions of new posts on Facebook every day, so we make it easy for people to flag content for us, and they do. Every piece of content on Facebook can be reported to our teams directly through the site.

When content is reported to us, it is reviewed by a highly trained global team with expertise in dozens of languages. The team reviews reports around the clock, and prioritizes any terrorism-related reports for immediate review.

We remove anyone or any group who has a violent mission or who has engaged in acts of terrorism. We also remove any content that expresses support for these groups or their actions. And we don't stop there. When we find terrorist related material, we look for and remove associated violating content as well.

When a crisis happens anywhere in the world, we organize our employees and, if necessary, shift resources to ensure that we are able to respond quickly to any violating content on the site. For instance, in the wake of the recent attacks in Paris, we also reached out immediately to NGOs, media, and government officials, to get the latest information so that we were prepared to act quickly. Many of our employees, especially our French speakers, worked around the clock to respond to the spike in reports from our community.

This is not an easy job and we know we can make mistakes and are always working to improve our responsiveness and accuracy. We have expanded our team and increased our language capabilities so that we can respond to crises around the world faster and more effectively. As part of this effort, we have expanded our engagement with experts and follow world events closely. We remain in close contact with NGO’s, industry partners, academics, and government officials about the best ways to keep Facebook free of terrorists and terror-promoting content. As governments and academics have pointed out, it is often hard to identify new terror groups and individuals because the landscape is constantly changing. We do our best to monitor emerging groups or trends by maintaining relationships with experts in the field and listening closely to our community.

Every time there is a terror attack, people come to Facebook to share their reactions. These posts from people around the world often express frustration and despair, but also empathy and a desire to help. Our community uses Facebook to share devastating news, but also to console one another, express solidarity, and mobilize support for victims and other vulnerable people. For instance, after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, we saw many people use Facebook to plan offline events to stand in solidarity against terrorism.

Of course, when people talk about these events for good reasons, they sometimes share upsetting content. It is horrifying to see a photograph of a refugee child lying lifeless on a beach. At the same time, that image may mobilize people to take action to help other refugees. Many people in volatile regions are suffering unspeakable horrors that fall outside the reach of media cameras. Facebook provides these people a voice, and we want to protect that voice.

If Facebook blocked all upsetting content, we would inevitably block the media, charities and others from reporting on what is happening in the world. We would also inevitably interfere with calls for positive change and support for victims. For this reason, we allow people to discuss these events and share some types of violent images but only if they are clearly doing so to raise awareness or condemn violence. However, we remove any graphic images shared to promote or glorify violence or the perpetrators of violence.

We understand that this is an important subject that concerns all of us. Our goal at Facebook is to protect the sharing and connecting that is such an important part of responding to terrorism, while preventing our service from being abused by those who would glorify violence or terror. Our teams are committed and doing everything possible to keep Facebook safe.

Yours Sincerely,
Monika Bickert
Head of Global Product Policy