MODERATE CAUTIOUSLY

Minimize your control over user expression.

If your product provides a forum for content or communication, consider carefully whether you want to be in the business of policing those forums. If you need to place limits on illegal or other harmful behavior, make sure your policies are as clear and narrow as possible and ensure that there are mechanisms in place to handle disputes with minimal disruption to expression on your service.

ENSURE THAT YOU CONSISTENTLY APPLY YOUR POLICIES
Having a clear and consistent interpretation of your own policies and ensuring that your reviewers understand and follow them may help your users properly stay within boundaries of acceptable behavior. It can also avoid controversies where similar content is treated differently by different reviewers.
Case Study

Facebook Faces “Nurse-In” over Breastfeeding Photo Policies

In February 2012, Facebook offices were the site of “nurse-ins” protesting the social giant’s practice of repeatedly taking down photographs of breastfeeding mothers.

In February 2012, Facebook offices were the site of “nurse-ins” protesting the social giant’s practice of repeatedly taking down photographs of breastfeeding mothers. Although Facebook stated that its current practice was to allow such photos, in practice breastfeeding photos have been removed frequently for containing “nudity” and some mothers’ Facebook accounts have even been deactivated. As a result, critics chastised Facebook for not even “playing by their own rules” and told the social network to “stop being total boobs.” In response to continued negative press, Facebook explicitly changed its community guidelines in 2014 to allow photos of breastfeeding mothers.

ENSURE THAT YOUR POLICIES APPLY EQUALLY TO ALL USERS
Users will rightly be unhappy if they believe that some group or perspective is favored on your service. Avoid the appearance of favoritism by ensuring that you apply your policies consistently to all speakers rather than subjecting certain viewpoints to particular scrutiny or catering to objections from certain groups.
Case Study

Coca-Cola Slammed for “Homophobic” Promotion

Coca-Cola was “slammed by the LGBT community” after users discovered that the company’s “Share a Coke” social media campaign banned the words “gay” and “homo.” Attempts to create an image of a Coke can with the prohibited words resulted in an "

Coca-Cola was “slammed by the LGBT community” after users discovered that the company’s “Share a Coke” social media campaign banned the words “gay” and “homo.” Attempts to create an image of a Coke can with the prohibited words resulted in an "Oops, let's pretend you didn't just try that" message, while words like “straight” and “hetero” were permitted. The company was forced to apologize in the face of “massive pushback” including the loss of “Brand of the Year” honors at multiple diversity events.

BE TRANSPARENT ABOUT THE REMOVAL OF CONTENT

Avoid user surprise and show how your business respects free speech by explaining how much content is taken down and why. Issue a regular transparency report with statistics on the type and number of content removals, including those that result from informal and formal government and third party demands as well as from internal reporting or review processes. Explain how much content was removed for violating specific categories of your terms of service, community guidelines, and other policies that affect user speech.

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