If you’re a frequent Facebook user, chances are you’ve scrolled through some ridiculous posts: your racist uncle telling an unfunny joke about Jews; your random high school friend sharing a violent fighting video; and that person you’ve met once at a festival changing her cover photo to an edgy nude photo of an anime character.
Facebook actually has guidelines for wading through these unpleasant broadcasts. Most people know that you can click the little arrow on a post and report it. When enough people report something, the Facebook community team will investigate.
With increasing number of people posting things online, Facebook has stepped up its content policing. Earlier this year in May, both Facebook and Twitter pledged to remove any hate speech within 24 hours. But hate speech may not be the only thing that Facebook blocks. Here are some examples of things that Facebook frequently censors:
Posts that try to sell marijuana
Many marijuana dispensaries have found their pages being blocked by Facebook, even in states where it’s legal.
Several states in the US allow the sale of marijuana, but Facebook frowns upon such businesses. According to its Community Standards on regulated goods, Facebook will “prohibit any attempts by private individuals to purchase, sell, or trade prescription drugs, marijuana, firearms or ammunition.”
It might be that Facebook prefers to follow national guideline instead of local laws, since marijuana is still technically illegal according to the US federal government. However, it appears that Facebook is only cracking down on unlicensed sellers.
This doesn’t just apply to pages, but individuals as well. If you’re dumb enough to post a status on Facebook trying to “hook someone up with an ounce,” expect it to be taken down.
Breastfeeding is a controversial topic on Facebook. Mothers love sharing the intimate moment with their friends and family, but some find it vulgar to display breastfeeding photos in public.
The incidents of Facebook removing breastfeeding photos is too. numerous. to. count. After some outrage from mothers, Facebook finally clarified its policy on breastfeeding. You’re allowed to post breastfeeding photos, but you can’t show nipples.
After a former Facebook employee touted that the social network was purposefully undermining conservative news, CEO Mark Zuckerberg held a meeting with conservative leaders to reassure them that the report is inaccurate.
Despite the reassurance, journalists have had posts taken down for seemingly innocent comments. In May, conservative journalist Todd Starnes reported that his Facebook page was blocked for posting that he was “as politically incorrect as you can get.”
Videos that celebrates or glorifies violence
During the live stream of Philando Castile’s shooting at the hands of a Minnesota police officer, Facebook briefly deleted the video. The site later blamed it on a “technical glitch”. Although the video was later restored, Facebook had to clarify what kind of violent videos are allowed.
It explains that even if the video is “graphic or disturbing”, it will be allowed. The video will only be taken down if it “celebrates or glorifies violence.”
In other words, you’re allowed to post videos that report violent incidents such as the shooting of Philando Castile. But if you post a video of a someone being beaten up for fun, it will get deleted.
Earlier this year, Facebook’s advertising team caused a stir when it rejected an advertisement featuring Tess Holliday, a plus-sized bikini model. Facebook defended it’s stance, saying that it does not allow ads that “depict a state of health or body weight as being perfect or extremely undesirable.”
So how much weight is considered too much for Facebook? That’s hard to say, but Facebook doesn’t like them because “they make viewers feel bad about themselves.” Instead, the social network recommends “using an image of a relevant activity, such as running or riding a bike.”
After a brief backlash, Facebook walked back on that stance and apologized, saying that they incorrectly rejected the ad.