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Facebook: Preparing for a Verdict in the Trial of Derek Chauvin

As the trial of Derek Chauvin draws to a close, we are doing what we can to prepare for the verdict. This means preventing online content from being linked to offline harm and doing our part to keep our community safe. Our teams are working around the clock to look for potential threats both on…

As the trial of Derek Chauvin draws to a close, we are doing what we can to prepare for the verdict. This means preventing online content from being linked to offline harm and doing our part to keep our community safe.

Our teams are working around the clock to look for potential threats both on and off of Facebook and Instagram so we can protect peaceful protests and limit content that could lead to civil unrest or violence. This includes identifying and removing calls to bring arms to areas in Minneapolis, which we have temporarily deemed to be a high-risk location. We will continue to monitor events on the ground to determine if additional locations will be deemed as temporary, high-risk locations. We are also working to protect the memory of George Floyd and members of the Floyd family from harassment and abuse. Under our policies, we will remove content that praises, celebrates or mocks George Floyd’s death.

Removing Content that Violates Our Community Standards

We know this trial has been painful for many people. We want to strike the right balance between allowing people to speak about the trial and what the verdict means, while still doing our part to protect everyone’s safety. We will allow people to discuss, critique and criticize the trial and the attorneys involved.

We will remove content that violates our Community Standards, including our policies against hate speech, bullying and harassment, graphic violence, and violence and incitement. As we have done in emergency situations in the past, we may also limit the spread of content that our systems predict is likely to violate our Community Standards in the areas of hate speech, graphic violence, and violence and incitement. We will remove Pages, groups, Events and Instagram accounts that violate our violence and incitement policy and we will remove events organized in temporary, high-risk locations that contain calls to bring arms.

Protections for Public Figures vs Private Individuals

Our policies against bullying and harassment distinguish between public figures and private individuals. This is because we want to allow discussion, which often includes critical commentary of people who are featured in the news or who have a large public audience. We consider Derek Chauvin a public figure, for voluntarily placing himself in the public eye, which means we will remove attacks that are severe, in line with our policies. For involuntary public figures and private individuals, our protections go further. We consider George Floyd an involuntary public figure which is why we apply a higher level of protection to content about his death.

Limiting Misinformation and Graphic Content

As with all high-profile events, we are taking extra steps to limit misinformation. This includes using several tools to ensure that potential misinformation is flagged to our network of third-party fact-checking partners. For content that is graphic or may be difficult for some people to see, we will mark them as disturbing or sensitive.

And given the risk of violence following the announcement of the verdict, regardless of what it is, we remain in close contact with local, state and federal law enforcement. We will respond to valid legal requests and support any investigations that are in line with our policies.

We know this trial has been difficult for many people. But we also realize that being able to discuss what is happening and what it means with friends and loved ones is important. As the trial comes to a close, we will continue doing our part to help people safely connect and share what they are experiencing.

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