In a world where we have Twitter, a social website that allows people with verbal diarrhoea to say whatever is on their minds regardless of whom their tweet could affect, to Facebook censoring a photo that is deemed innocent by some, ‘Facebook Censors Photo After Mistaking Elbow for Breast [VIDEO], but then allows photographs that are seen as derogatory to females, ‘Zoo Weekly slammed over Facebook pictures that degraded and exploited women’.
Referencing Facebook’s terms and conditions again ‘You will not post content that: is hate speech, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.’
Responses to the elbow photograph suggest an algorithm is to blame for the censorship of this photograph.
With Twitter is would seem anything goes, Twitter’s terms of service in a nut shell says anything posted by users, as offensive as the tweets maybe is nothing to do with them and responsibility solely lies with the user.
4. Content on the Services
All Content, whether publicly posted or privately transmitted, is the sole responsibility of the person who originated such Content. We may not monitor or control the Content posted via the Services and, we cannot take responsibility for such Content. Any use or reliance on any Content or materials posted via the Services or obtained by you through the Services is at your own risk.
We do not endorse, support, represent or guarantee the completeness, truthfulness, accuracy, or reliability of any Content or communications posted via the Services or endorse any opinions expressed via the Services. You understand that by using the Services, you may be exposed to Content that might be offensive, harmful, inaccurate or otherwise inappropriate, or in some cases, postings that have been mislabeled or are otherwise deceptive. Under no circumstances will Twitter be liable in any way for any Content, including, but not limited to, any errors or omissions in any Content, or any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of any Content posted, emailed, transmitted or otherwise made available via the Services or broadcast elsewhere.
That could explain the strange names of some of JobServe’s Twitter followers who most likely are promoting a completely different service!
If we’re going by the terms and conditions set out by both social networks so far it would seem…
Pinterest’s terms and conditions have a handy translation of its conditions in plain and simple English.
‘ii. To third parties. Pinterest respects the rights of third party creators and content owners, and expects you to do the same. You therefore agree not to post any User Content that violates any law or infringes the rights of any third party.
Also, don’t post porn or spam or be a jerk to other Pinners. Oh, and we can actually use your suggestions to make Pinterest better.’
In addition to their terms and condition Pinterest have a set of guidelines to consider when pinning – Pin Etiquette. Point number 4 ‘Report Objectionable Content’ discusses how Pinterest ‘..do not allow nudity, hateful content, or content that encourages people to hurt themselves.’ If users come across something they find offensive they can click the ‘Report Content’ link. This is similar to what Facebook has in place. The offensive post is viewed then decided if it is a cause for concern and action taken accordingly. The article from mashable.com, ‘Pinterest or Porn-terest? What the Social network is Doing to Keep It Clean’ discusses how some nudity can be considered art, not to everyone’s taste but nevertheless art. Majority of us can tell the difference between something that is considered artistic or unsuitable for the public viewing, but isn’t there also a fine line between what is considered artistic and what isn’t?
Websites such as YouTube like Twitter make its users aware that they could come across some not so accurate and pleasant viewing videos and that users agree to this as part of the terms and conditions.
‘You further understand and acknowledge that in using the Service, you may be exposed to Content that is factually inaccurate, offensive, indecent, or otherwise objectionable to you. You agree to waive, and hereby do waive, any legal or equitable rights or remedies you have or may have against YouTube with respect to any such Content.’
So what is the right approach to all this?
Social networking sites are a free for all, anyone can join, create a profile using a pseudonym, create a new persona in a virtual world. The online social world is also an excellent marketing tool for a variety of industries. Whether you agree with everything people post, as long as it isn’t illegal and breaking any terms and conditions it’s going to be posted.
We have heard about internet trolls deliberately setting out to victimise and harm fellow social network users. Resulting in outrage and demands for new laws to be created and enforced on posting nasty comments. This attention propelled social networks into the spotlight questioning their moral compass to do something about said trolls; ban them from the website, reveal their names to the powers that be? Facebook’s terms and conditions state ‘If we disable your account, you will not create another one without our permission’ but how would Facebook know?
Social networking sites will take action against those whose online behaviour affects their brands image, otherwise how individual social websites enforce their terms and conditions is a grey area. A seemingly innocent image could be flagged up, offensive images slip through the net and then there is Twitter and YouTube, though they don’t monitor what is uploaded / tweeted they do make users aware they may come across things they find offensive.
Realistically, we are talking about monitoring the accounts of approximately 1 billion Facebook active users and Twitters approximately 500 million+ users. Algorithms or not, social websites can’t get it right all the time.