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Facebook to ramp up content moderation ahead of Chauvin trial verdict

Facebook to ramp up content moderation ahead of Chauvin trial verdict
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Facebook is putting additional content moderation protocols in place ahead of the impending verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of murdering George Floyd.

Facebook said Monday, shortly before the start of closing arguments in the trial, that it will identify and remove calls to bring arms to areas in Minneapolis, which has temporarily been deemed a “high-risk location” by the social media platform.

The tech giant said it will continue to monitor events to determine if additional locations will also be deemed temporary, high-risk locations. 

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“We know this trial has been painful for many people. We want to strike the right balance between allowing people to speak about the trial and what the verdict means, while still doing our part to protect everyone’s safety,” Facebook’s vice president of content policy, Monika Bickert, said in a blog post

The platform will also remove content that “praises, celebrates or mocks Floyd’s death.” 

Bickert said Floyd is considered an “involuntary public figure,” which is why the platform applies a higher level of protection to content about his death. 

Chauvin, however, is considered a public figure for “voluntarily placing himself in the public eye.” 

Facebook’s policies distinguish against public and private figures to “allow discussion, which often includes critical commentary of people who are featured in the news or who have a large public audience.” Facebook will remove attacks “that are severe” about Chauvin, in line with the platform’s policies. 

Bickert said Facebook is also taking “extra steps to limit misinformation,” as it has with other high-profile events. The steps include using “several tools” to ensure potential misinformation is flagged to a network of third-party fact-checking partners. 

Facebook will also mark graphic content as “disturbing or sensitive."

The company will also work in close contact with local, state and federal law enforcement, Bickert said.