Facebook is unquestionably the largest social network the world has ever seen. Every month, 1.94 billion people use the service. Every day, 1.28 billion people–about one in seven on the entire planet–use it. With that scale comes all kinds of responsibilities.
That’s why Facebook has decided to formally address what it calls the “hard questions,” the things that it feels will most govern what it does, and how it should be governed, going forward.
In a blog post, Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s vice president for public policy and communications, wrote that the company wants to talk “openly” about these “complex subjects:”
* How should platforms approach keeping terrorists from spreading propaganda online?
* After a person dies, what should happen to their online identity?
* How aggressively should social media companies monitor and remove controversial posts and images from their platforms? Who gets to decide what’s controversial, especially in a global community with a multitude of cultural norms?
* Who gets to define what’s false news — and what’s simply controversial political speech?
* Is social media good for democracy?
* How can we use data for everyone’s benefit, without undermining people’s trust?
* How should young internet users be introduced to new ways to express themselves in a safe environment?
Facebook recognizes that not everyone will be in lock-step with it on how it addresses those questions, and it knows people will think there are other hard questions that need to be looked at as well. So the company is inviting users to suggest additional questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, the folks at TechCrunch have annotated Facebook’s list with their thoughts on the context behind each of the seven initial questions.