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Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

In its new-found spirit of transparency, Facebook is publishing its internal Community Guidelines and is introducing an appeals process for users who believe their content has been taken down unfairly.

The company has traditionally kept secret the guidelines it uses to decide what content should be allowed – concerned, one assumes, that publishing them would allow people to game the system. Now, though, it’s going public.

“We decided to publish these internal guidelines for two reasons. First, the guidelines will help people understand where we draw the line on nuanced issues,” says VP of global product management Monika Bickert.

“Second, providing these details makes it easier for everyone, including experts in different fields, to give us feedback so that we can improve the guidelines – and the decisions we make – over time.”

The guidelines are much more detailed than the community standards that have in the past been available to users. This is particularly informative when it comes to harassment and bullying. You can’t, for example, post content that ‘claims that a victim of a violent tragedy is lying about being a victim’ or ‘content about another private individual that reflects… degrading physical descriptions about or ranking individuals on physical appearance or personality’.

And along with publishing the guidelines, Facebook is also introducing an appeals process for those who believe they’ve been misjudged.

The company has come in for a fair amount of criticism over the years for taking down perfectly innocuous content – everything from photos of classical statues to the famous picture of a napalmed child in Vietnam.

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Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

In its new-found spirit of transparency, Facebook is publishing its internal Community Guidelines and is introducing an appeals process for users who believe their content has been taken down unfairly.

The company has traditionally kept secret the guidelines it uses to decide what content should be allowed – concerned, one assumes, that publishing them would allow people to game the system. Now, though, it’s going public.

“We decided to publish these internal guidelines for two reasons. First, the guidelines will help people understand where we draw the line on nuanced issues,” says VP of global product management Monika Bickert.

“Second, providing these details makes it easier for everyone, including experts in different fields, to give us feedback so that we can improve the guidelines – and the decisions we make – over time.”

The guidelines are much more detailed than the community standards that have in the past been available to users. This is particularly informative when it comes to harassment and bullying. You can’t, for example, post content that ‘claims that a victim of a violent tragedy is lying about being a victim’ or ‘content about another private individual that reflects… degrading physical descriptions about or ranking individuals on physical appearance or personality’.

And along with publishing the guidelines, Facebook is also introducing an appeals process for those who believe they’ve been misjudged.

The company has come in for a fair amount of criticism over the years for taking down perfectly innocuous content – everything from photos of classical statues to the famous picture of a napalmed child in Vietnam.

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