How we update the Facebook Community Standards


JUL 29, 2021

There are a number of reasons why the Facebook company may draft a new policy for the Facebook Community Standards and Instagram Community Guidelines or revise an existing one.

Here’s how it works.

Facebook’s Content Policy team, which sits in more than a dozen locations around the world, is responsible for developing our Community Standards and Community Guidelines. The team includes subject matter experts in issues like hate speech, child safety and terrorism as well as people with experience in criminal prosecution, rape crisis counseling, academics, human rights, law and education. Many have also worked on issues of voice and safety long before coming to the Facebook company.

The Integrity team assesses the global impact of potential policy changes and builds the technology to scale the detection and enforcement of new policies.

The Global Operations team, whose employees, contractors and outsourcing partners are responsible for enforcing our policies, keep us informed about trends or times when we may need to clarify a policy.

Research teams may also point us to data or user sentiment that seems best addressed through policy-making.

Sometimes, we identify a gap in our policy, or an external stakeholder tells us that a policy fails to address an issue that’s important to them. In other cases, the press draws attention to a policy gap.

See this work in action: Policy Forum minutes

We take great care to craft policies that are inclusive of different views and beliefs—in particular, those of people and communities that might otherwise be overlooked or marginalized.

Every 2 weeks, a meeting called the Policy Forum takes place where we discuss potential changes to our Community Standards, Community Guidelines, Advertising Policies or Product Policies. At this meeting, subject matter experts from the Content Policy team propose adding new policies or amending existing ones. These meetings help the team factor in cultural differences on what is acceptable and better understand different perspectives on safety and voice and the impact of our policies on different communities globally.

A variety of internal stakeholders also participate in the meetings. This includes team members from safety and cybersecurity policy, Global Operations, Civil Rights and Human Rights, legal, communications and diversity, as well as counterterrorism specialists, product managers, and other public policy leads.

Our Content Policy team typically gives 2 types of presentations at the meetings: a heads up or a policy recommendation. A heads up is a short presentation that introduces an issue the team plans to work through, with internal and external input. After the team has received input, analyzed relevant data about the issue and prepared options for updating a policy, subject matter experts will present a recommendation so the larger group can discuss it.

Our policies evolve over time based on feedback from these meetings, as well as changes in social norms, language and product updates.