Social media giant Facebook is going to update its community standards to clarify what kind of posts it considers satire, the company said in a blog post. The decision came after the company’s Oversight Board, which is empowered to take final calls on content takedown appeals, overturned Facebook’s decision to take down a post about the Turkish government.
In its recommendations, the board said that Facebook should “include a general language satire exception for users in your Community Standards for hate speech”, which it hasn’t done right now. “We’ll add information to the Community Standards that makes it clear where we consider satire as part of our assessment of context-specific decisions,” Facebook said in its response, adding that it plans to make this update by the end of the year.
The post in question included a split-screen cartoon on a popular internet meme, which Facebook thought was incentive towards Armenians. The company applied its Cruel and Insensitive Community Standard when blocking the post.
Here’s the Board’s description of the case: “On 24 December 2020, a Facebook user from the US posted a comment that contained an adaptation of the ‘Daily Struggle’ or ‘two button’ meme. It featured a split-screen cartoon of the original ‘two buttons’ meme, but instead of the cartoon character’s face, the Turkish flag was visible. The cartoon character’s straight hand was on his head and he was seen sweating. In the second part of the split-screen above the character, there are two red buttons with their respective statements in English language: ‘The Armenian Genocide is a lie’ and ‘The Armenians were terrorists that deserved it’ (Armenians were terrorists and that was their fate).”
The Board found that the ‘two-button’ meme is used to differentiate between two options, and not show support towards them. “Similarly, they (the Board’s members) found that the user had shared the meme to expose and condemn the actions of the Turkish government in denying the Armenian genocide and at the same time justify those atrocities,” the Board said in its decision.
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