Community Standards and Terms of Service

Use this lesson to:

  • Identify Facebook’s Terms of Service and Community Standards.

Introduction

Previously, we learned strategies for developing the guiding principles of your community. These were specific guidelines based on your plan to uphold your community’s mission and values. And, if your community expands across Facebook apps, you need to adhere to the Terms of Service in addition to your specific community principles.

In this lesson, we will review Facebook Terms of Service and Community Standards. We will also review how to identify when someone goes against these guidelines in your community and what you should do if it happens.

What are the Terms of Service and Community Standards?

The Terms of Service outline the legal agreement between a service provider (in this case, Facebook) and a person who wants to use that service. When you build a community using Facebook apps and services, Facebook is the service provider and you are the service user. These Terms govern your use of Facebook apps, including Instagram, and the other products, features, services, technologies and software on these platforms.

Every person who uses Facebook must follow these Terms. Community managers in particular should be familiar with and follow Facebook Community StandardsPages, Groups and Events Policies, and Commerce Policies.

These Terms, Community Standards and Policies evolve over time to keep pace with changes happening online and in the world. They are written and updated based on feedback from the Facebook community and the advice of experts in fields such as technology, public safety and human rights.

In particular, Community Standards apply to the content you post on Facebook platforms. So, to review, Facebook Terms of Service govern your use of Facebook apps and technologies, and Facebook Community Standards detail what is and isn’t allowed on Facebook.

What values are Community Standards based on?

Facebook Community Standards address what is and isn’t allowed on Facebook. They are built to support the following values:

Authenticity

We want to make sure that the content people are seeing on Facebook is genuine. We believe that authenticity creates a better environment for sharing, and we don’t want people using Facebook to misrepresent who they are or what they’re doing. Content that doesn’t adhere to the authenticity principle might include, but is not limited to, inauthentic behavior, using multiple accounts, sharing false news and misinformation.

Safety

We are committed to making Facebook a safe place. Any expression that threatens people has the potential to intimidate, exclude or silence others and isn’t allowed on Facebook. Examples of content that violates the safety value may include, but is not limited to, messages that promote bullying, harassment or self-injury.

Privacy

We are committed to protecting personal privacy and information. Privacy gives people the freedom to be themselves, and to choose how and when to share on Facebook and to connect more easily. Some examples of prohibited behavior include content that identifies individuals by name and conveys their personal information or facilitates identity theft by posting or soliciting personally identifiable information.

Dignity

We believe that all people are equal in dignity and rights. We expect that people will not harass or degrade others and respect their dignity. Content that violates the dignity value might include, but is not limited to, hate speech as a direct attack on people based on what we call protected characteristics.

What are the Community Standards?

Here is an overview of the Community Standards and how they treat each of the following categories.

Violence and criminal behavior.

We aim to prevent potential online and offline harm that may be related to content on Facebook. Our violence and criminal behavior standards prohibit content about violence and incitement, content by dangerous individuals and organizations, content that coordinates harm or publicizing crime, content about the sale of regulated goods, and content about fraud and deception.

Safety.

We are dedicated to promoting a safe environment for everyone on Facebook, and will remove content that encourages harm or jeopardizes safety. Our safety standards prohibit content about suicide and self-injury, child nudity and the sexual exploitation of children or adults, bullying and harassment, human exploitation, and content that violates privacy or image privacy rights.

Objectionable content.

Hate speech, cruel and insensitive remarks, and violent and graphic content are all prohibited on Facebook. So, too, is content about adult nudity, sexual activity and sexual solicitation.

Integrity and authenticity.

These policies are intended to create a safe environment where people can trust and hold one another accountable. This policy prohibits misrepresentation, spam, inauthentic behavior, false news and manipulated media.

Respecting intellectual property.

Facebook takes intellectual property rights seriously and believes they are important for promoting expression, creativity and innovation in our community. People own all of the content and information that they post on Facebook. However, this standard prohibits people from posting content that violates someone else’s intellectual property rights, including copyright and trademark.

How can I use Facebook Community Standards in my community?

You can use Facebook Community Standards as a reference for what is expected from your members. For example, you can design your community guidelines to complement the four values that support Facebook Community Standards: authenticity, safety, privacy and dignity.

We will further explore moderation tactics that can help your members adhere to your community guidelines and Facebook Community Standards in the next lesson.

What should you do if the Community Standards are being violated in your community?

As a community manager, you should be aware of the core values that support Facebook Terms, Policies and Community Standards so you know what kind of content is and isn’t allowed. You can also use Facebook Community Standards as a guide when you create rules for your own communities.

If you think that your community might have content or members that are not adhering to Facebook guidelines, you should report it. You can report profiles, individual content and comments as well as other Pages and groups. You can use moderation tools in Groups or Pages, or the Group Quality and Page Quality tools, to identify possible violations and the steps you should take to keep your community safe.

Let’s test your knowledge

The Amateur Singers and Songwriters community has noticed several negative posts that violate Facebook Community Standards. Categorize the following posts based on which policy they are not adhering to:

 Key takeaways:

  • The Terms of Service and Community Standards detail what is and isn’t allowed on Facebook platforms.

  • Facebook Community Standards are frequently updated policies that change over time and are built around the values of authenticity, safety, privacy and dignity.

  • Community managers should ensure that their communities are safe spaces for people to connect through moderating and reporting content that may go against Facebook Community Standards.

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