Facebook Introduces New Tools to Combat Bullying and Harassment

Facebook has announced a new set of measures to tackle on platform bullying and abuse, including tools to protect high profile users and options for people to report problems on behalf of others.

First off, Facebook’s adding a new comment moderation tool which will enable users to delete multiple comments at once.

The tool will make it a little easier to manage your interactions on Facebook, helping you to both get rid of negative comments for your own sake, while also protecting your community from such exposure. Facebook says in a statement that it’s also testing some of the different ways to “more easily search for and block offensive words from appearing in comments”.

The new comment moderation option is rolling out on desktop and Android first and will be available on iOS in the coming months.

Facebook’s also providing new tools which will enable users to submit an issue report on behalf of someone they see is being bullied or harassed on the platform.

“Being the target of unwanted attention can be stressful and some of the people may not feel comfortable at the time of reporting. In some of the other cases, bullying or harassment happens out of sight from victims. If ever you see any of your friend or family which is being bullied or harassed, now you can report someone on their behalf via the menu above the post that you are concerned about. “

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The use case here makes perfect sense, and it’ll help to have another way for Facebook to detect and remove such comments, without the onus totally being on the victim.

In addition to this, Facebook’s also looking to add in new protections for public figures – particularly younger people in the spotlight.

“Our some of the different set of bullying and harassment policies protect private individuals, but we permit open and critical discussion of people who are featured in the news or have a large public audience which is as of now totally based on their profession or chosen activities. We have communicated with a different set of people who use Facebook as well as safety experts to find ways we can better protect these public figures from harassment. In the 207, we expanded our policies to guard against the harassment of young public figures on Facebook. In the coming time scenario, we will further expand our policies to better protect public figures against harassment regardless of age.”

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One of the most prominent examples of this was the recent meme trend involving Stranger Things actor Millie Bobby Brown, who’s 14 years old. The trend, which used Brown’s image in offensive memes, eventually lead to the actor quitting Twitter – and there are various other examples of celebrities, young and old, facing unrelenting attacks or criticism online.

As Facebook notes, these people are in the public eye, and thus open for public discussion, but there are still lines that need to be drawn on such behavior. Facebook is now looking to clarify what those lines, specifically, are.

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