back to article No nudity please, we're killing ourselves: Advice to Facebook mods leaks

A large quantity of Facebook's advice for its English-language content moderators* has been obtained and published by The Guardian newspaper, giving insight into how it handles material on the site. Facebook, which earned $27bn last year, has 4,500 human moderators and recently said it would add another 3,000. They decide …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Now we know how Facebook sees rule 34.

  2. wolfetone

    "Videos of abortions are not forbidden, except when the subject is nude. It's the nudity that's the no-no"

    Ah, so we're going to start dancing around this subject. "Abortion isn't violent", "Abortion is murder" etc etc.

    My popcorn is ready and raring to go.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Videos of abortions are not forbidden, except when the subject is nude. It's the nudity that's the no-no"

      So the fetus can't be nude. Yes, the fetus is the subject of the abortion - the fetus is aborted, the mother is not aborted.

      I can see it now, coming to a Facebook add on your feed - fetal abortion gowns!

      1. Martijn Otto

        If you're a pregnant woman, live-streaming the abortion of your unborn child they might as well abort her too. Why would anyone want a camera present for something like that?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The anti-abortion segment of the population insists that abortion is morally wrong. The pro-abortion segment says that's not so. The resolution of the issue depends entirely on a subjective definition of the status of the fetus. Thus it's a political football and will always be one.

          If an abortion is viewed as a political act by some, a few might be willing to go so far as to broadcast said act for all to see, as a personal testament. However, this changes the abortion itself from an unfortunate but sometimes necessary "choice" to a blatant in-your-face political act, and IMO any moral high-ground is lost in the process.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Pretty sure it is the opposite

            It is anti-abortion people who would want to show videos of an abortion, because it is something everyone would find distasteful, and would be more likely to sway more people towards their side. I certainly can't imagine such a video getting anyone on the fence (if there is anyone left there) on the pro-choice side!

            Even the most pro abortion people don't celebrate the abortions themselves, they only celebrate having the choice.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't satisfy everyone

    What I got from reading their guidelines was that they're actually pretty well reasoned and justified, walking the fine line between keeping users and advertisers happy. (With the obvious American bias of violence = good, nudity = worst)

    Of course they won't be applied consistently. While the el reg mods can keep Anonymous Coward in check, no system scales to billions of users across thousands of cultures.

    I wish facebook would just burst, so everyone could return to human-scale internet communities.

    1. PickledAardvark

      Re: Can't satisfy everyone

      When you read the guidelines on their own -- independent of a real world situation -- they seem reasonable. You might quibble over one or two. They're like the policies high management create for IT services which sound all right until you try to apply them.

      I read many motor sport forums and most have a ban on posting images of fatal accidents. People who use the forums may be friends of the victim and almost everyone understands that debate should be conducted with sensitivity, for some topics at least. That's how human-scale internet communities work.

      Facebook can't be a human-scale community. I would hate to be called a Facebook defender but Facebook's guidelines can only ever be a mess. Facebook wants to be used by everyone. And some people are anti-social, which no set of guidelines can change.

    2. bazza Silver badge

      Re: Can't satisfy everyone system scales to billions of users across thousands of cultures.

      Indeed, and of course that's no excuse. Facebook cannot be allowed to use the argument "we're too big to do anything". Size does not excuse illegality. Global presence is not a reason to impose US derived moral mono-culture. If they have based their entire business model on doing just that and don't like the idea of that being destroyed, hard cheese.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can't satisfy everyone

      Keep AC in check?

      Not even I can do that and I am the OG AC...people have been posting in MY name for years.

      I am also Spartacus and so is my wife.

    4. Seajay#

      Re: Can't satisfy everyone

      What Facebook would like is to be the platform where human-scale communities live.

      E.g. although the overall Facebook guidelines won't prevent you sharing an image of a fatal motorsports crash, you are perfectly free to set up a motorsports group in Facebook where you apply that rule.

      Similarly, I don't really need FB to moderate away videos of a newsworthy self-harm video. Anyone sharing that with me probably isn't someone I want to stay friends with (unless they've got a damn good reason for doing it) so I can solve that myself by unfriending them.

      This system only breaks down if I see that sort of material in an advert or some other recommended or promoted post that hasn't originated from someone I know. That's pretty unlikely though. Advertisers aren't that crazy.

  4. tentimes

    Living in a bubble

    We need to get some external "real" people in to call the rules on this. Facebook seem to be totally detached from reality and are living in a bubble.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Living in a bubble

      The "content" isn't the problem. The problem is that once censorship of any kind is applied, they lose. Doesn't matter if you agree or not, that's just the beast of censorship. The FCC have been battling censorship for years with no sane reasoning in sight, now, how highly regarded is the FCC? FaceB. is destined to the same fate, one baby step at a time. Censorhip is the A.I.D.S. of publication.

      Note, there's a difference between being ethical and being censored. But, can you ethically censor the unethical? Seems damned.

  5. djstardust

    Closed groups

    We have a local buy and sell "closed group" where several people are advertising illegal cigarettes on a daily basis. All that is posted is a picture with no text and the sellers won't communicate on the page and every query is met with a "PM me" response, so it's obvious the selling is not legal.

    Every time I report to Facebook it sends an automated message saying the post doesn't contravene community standards, however other FB literature tells me it's against the rules to sell cigarettes on their site.

    I have also reported obvious religious bigotry relating to Glasgow football teams which again isn't an issue to them it seems.

    Society is a far worse place with Facebook, it's just that people don't see how it is slowly eroding our way of life and allowing certain sections of society a free reign. There may be trouble ahead ......

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There is a Policeman Inside All Our Heads; He Must Be Destroyed

      Is facebook really "slowly eroding our way of life", or is it just a symptom of mass-consumer society?

      No I don't know the answer. Maybe they feed-back into each other.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: There is a Policeman Inside All Our Heads; He Must Be Destroyed

        Religious bigotry in Glasgow football has been part of our way of life for a century

    2. Seajay#

      Re: Closed groups

      The problem here is that you see someone breaking a law and your first thought is that Facebook need to do something about it.

      If they're breaking a law, why aren't you calling the police? They are the ones with the funding and mandate to do something about it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Closed groups

        They are the ones without the funding but a mandate to do something about it.


    3. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: Closed groups


      Every time I report to Facebook it sends an automated message saying the post doesn't contravene community standards


      Why do you believe that you have he right to impose your standards and opinions upon everyone else? If there are groups or posts that you do not agree with, don't read them. Simples.

      But do not presume that you should be able to dictate what *I* should be reading, or what might be "bad for me". Not everyone believes that it is wrong to avoid grossly punitive tobacco tax, and not everyone believes it is wrong to stop people voicing their opinions - even if those opinions are wrong or offensive.

      I am an intelligent adult who is quite capable of deciding what I do and do not want to read, and which opinions I do and do not believe to be valid.

  6. adam payne Silver badge

    Of course Facebook follows the rule, their own rules.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Well what other rules are there? Not legal ones, that's for sure...

      "*All material cited is in English. Moderation guidelines for other countries will be required to follow local laws."

      How fortunate for FB that all English-speaking countries have the same local laws.

  7. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    I agree with everything you meant to say but

    While the el reg mods can't keep Anonymous Coward in check,

    There's no 't in "can" :p

  8. Mage Silver badge


    Breastfeeding gets deleted but self harm, gore and murder is OK?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. frank ly

      Re: So

      If the baby is wearing a blindfold then I don't think it's in any moral danger. Better safe that sorry though.

    3. Arctic fox

      Re "Breastfeeding gets deleted but self harm, gore and murder is OK?"

      Now, now old chap did you not read this bit?

      "but will take the video down if "there's no longer an opportunity to help the person".

      They will clearly take the vid down once the perp has finished topping him/herself or someone else, so that's alright then hmm? *

      *My sarcasm is directed against FarceBook and not you. :)

  9. Mage Silver badge


    Shut down the parasite.

    It serves no useful purpose. Even Twitter is more use.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Solution

      That's true of most things

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Solution

        Its true that twatter is more useful than most things?

        I beg to to differ, I've survived without ever using it. I'll refrain from a huge list of examples and pick , say , "a good text editor" . No! wait! changed my mind "a good Bacon & egg sandwich"

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Solution


      Shut down the parasite."

      The problem with that idea is that Facebook believes humans are the parasite, and Facebook is the host.

  10. Your alien overlord - fear me

    What if I want to livestream self harm to my todger? Allowed or not? What if I pixelate it?

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      RE What if I pixelate it?

      You'll never see it again!

      1. Michael Thibault

        Re: RE What if I pixelate it?

        "Will it be hard to see?" appears to be the question.

    2. HausWolf

      That would make it legal in Japan

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just how many pixels do you need?

    4. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      "What if I pixelate it?"

      People would assume you were playing Minecraft.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "What if I want to livestream self harm to my todger? Allowed or not? What if I pixelate it?"

      Depends on what you pixellate. If you pixellate just the knife. Nope. If you pixellate your cock and the breastfeeding woman reading neo-nazi literature at the bus stop you're streaming from but not the knife then go for it. It's cool.

    6. fedoraman

      Try it and see!

  11. Bob Hoskins

    So I can live stream my suicide

    But I can't show a woman's nipple. Wow - just wow.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So I can live stream my suicide

      Worse still, a woman can't show her own, even if nursing a baby.

      1. PatientOne

        Re: So I can live stream my suicide

        "Worse still, a woman can't show her own, even if nursing a baby."

        Interstingly, there are claims that you can show breasts if you claim to be a man - pre or post op, or just identify as one. Of cause, first the images have to be taken down and you have to challenge why, but male breasts are, apparently, fine.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So I can live stream my suicide

          "but male breasts are, apparently, fine"

          American males make the rules; Maybe, just maybe they're all morbidly obese, and feel that the US constitution gives them the freedom to flaunt their moobs, but doesn't allow the ladies the same rights.

          It is as if there is one last amendment to the constitution that says:

          The above rules were written by prudish white guys to protect their interests; All parts of the constitution will be interpreted according to the hierarchy as noted below:

          1) Rich white men

          2) Non-rich elderly white men

          3) Rich white women

          4) Non rich non-elderly white men

          5) All other white women

          6) Rich black men

          7) Indian and miscellaneous other ethnic groups not included elsewhere

          8) Hispanic individuals employed by rich people

          9) All other Hispanic sub groups

          10) Black women

          11) Elderly and middle aged black men

          12) Young black men

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: So I can live stream my suicide

            "but male breasts are, apparently, fine"

            Mine are more than fine - they are stupendous

            (must start going to the gym)

    2. Michael Thibault

      Re: So I can live stream my suicide

      "But I can't show a woman's nipple. Wow - just wow."

      This is a more-generally-applied interdiction, apparently, and that fact -- strange as it may seem -- largely explains why I never see one. Even IRL, babies are always blocking my sight-line. I'm not saying "conspiracy?", but ...

  12. johnnyblaze

    I'm immensley proud to say, that I'm not one of the supposed 2B users. I don't have a FB account and have no interest in ever getting a FB account. Pointless, inane postings about how much people drank at the weekend, what they had for lunch and pictures of their cat. No thanks.

    1. Michael Thibault

      "Pointless, inane postings..."

      You peeked?

  13. Bob Rocket

    FB has the same editorial policy as

    the Daily Express

  14. Martin Summers Silver badge

    Is it possible they could have some proper crowd sourced moderation and users vote out content that people do not think is ok to be online? Bias would have to be handled carefully as getting a whole group of people to take things down would perhaps be too easy, but then you could have reputation scores for moderators. A lot of communities turn to their users for help with this kind of thing and I don't understand why Facebook should be any different and expect all abuse to be reported to them.

    1. defiler Silver badge

      The problem...

      You see, the problem I have with that is that Facebook make enough money every second to choke a donkey, so why should it be a voluntary effort to moderate for them? It's like Rupert Murdoch asking for home help to cook and clean... I'd rather people with time to donate did something for those with less.

      1. Martin Summers Silver badge

        Re: The problem...

        I do see your point but it stops the censorship issue falling on Facebook then and the users are responsible for the content they wish to see. They're already asking for people to report content so what is to stop the content disappearing temporarily after a certain trigger of reports whilst someone reviews it?

  15. deadlockvictim Silver badge


    Facebook says that aborted foeti may be shown as long as they are not nude.

    This implies that Facebook is of the opinion that a foetus is a person, for one doesn't talk about naked (internal) body-parts. Nudity in people is strongly forbidden.

    I'm sure that that revelation will exercise many to complain that foeti are not people.

    In the meantime, women (and men too, I suppose), if you are planning on televising the abortion of your foetus, please, please, please have the good sense to dress it up tastefully before displaying it all of its glory on Facebook.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Abortion

      I'm guessing that piece of humour worked better in your head.

    2. Glenturret Single Malt

      Re: Abortion

      Wow - "foeti". That's one plural I have never seen.

      Interestingly (to me, anyway), my Chambers Dictionary gives no guidance on the plural but does say, rather sniffily, that "foetus is the usual but etymologically unsatisfactory form of fetus". So fetus isn't a phonetic Americanism.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "earned $27bn"

    No they did not. That is a revenue number; earnings (profit) were much less but still a lot.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You know humanity is fucked when violence and gore are okay, but nudity is literally on par with Hitler.

    1. John G Imrie

      It's not nudity thats the problem

      It's female nudity. Now put that Burqa on Woman!

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    3. Bandikoto

      Do you remember all those religious nutters from the seventeenth century?

      Your ancestors sent some of my ancestors to the Colonies, starting in 1620, because they were religious nutters. The Puritans might have changed - the UCC is now one of the most liberal Christian churches in America - but their blue-nosed offspring live on.

    4. MrXavia

      Yep Agreed

      Nudity should not be a taboo!

  18. Potemkine

    Hypocrisy at best

    Seeing a child being beaten is ok, but seeing a boob is not?!?

    There is a lot in common between Face-de-bouc and the Talibans.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If the fetus is a part of the woman's body it is self-harm, so banned.

    If the fetus is NOT part of the woman's body (i.e. independent) it is killing, so banned.

  20. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I got rid of my FB account several years ago, although you can't actually delete it only 'deactivate' which makes me wonder how many of the 2 billion accounts are actually being used since FB don't seem to ever delete accounts no matter how long they haven't been inactive.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mrs May to the rescue

    Luckily this is only a short-term problem for those of us in the UK as that nice Mrs May has stated, in her manifesto, that her government will ensure the removal of all such unsuitable material by applying her^W UK laws to all internet material accessible (by the public) from the UK.

    AFAICT the plan is to pass legislation that will impose financial penalties on ISPs as well as companies such as Facebook. The overriding principle is that the internet will be subject to the same laws as everything else. Also:

    - government access to encrypted communications & devices will be required,

    - the alleged benefits of anonymous access do not outweigh its disadvantages wrt law enforcement.

    The lack of any reaction to this manifesto commitment from the other parties would seem to imply that they think that the majority of voters would be either uninterested or in favour.

  22. fedoraman
    Thumb Up

    Mining the sewer

    When you're mining for gold in a sewer, what do you expect?

    What worked fine for a bunch of US university kids, is proving far more problematic "at scale". Facebook needs to come to terms with the fact that it is now operating in a very different league, with all kinds of powers and responsibilities that it never had before. Has any other organisation ever seen such growth in power and influence in such a short space of time? Yet the ethos of the company, the mindset of the guy at the top, is still essentially the same. Organisational change -- its very hard.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Mining the sewer

      So just like democracy then ?

  23. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge

    No Nudity?

    This provides yet another reason why one should avoid FB. How can an organization that otherwise advocates for a complete lack of privacy draw the line here? No guts, no glory. They should mandate nudity to remain consistent.

  24. Stoneshop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Videos of violent deaths "can help create awareness"

    So a livestream of The Zuck's brain being throttled by his own major intestine should be OK then.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Videos of violent deaths "can help create awareness"

      Brain? Objection. Assumes organ not in evidence.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let the Reg prove it is better thaan Facebook

    We wait for the nipple pictures!

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Let the Reg prove it is better thaan Facebook

      Well, ElReg keeps insisting on displaying pictures of politicians ... and as we know, they are all a bunch of bumbling boobs. They are certainly offensive to the proverbial "thinking man". Methinks politicians should be banned from facebook & twitter!

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