THE CIRCULAR

Russian-Ukraine war and Online Content Moderation

Photo by Jimmy Liao from Pexels

What policies would stand in times of war- when the thread of civility is being attacked by the world’s biggest country with nuclear weapons? The Russian-Ukraine situation has taken the world by surprise and the greatest tool Ukraine has above their independence is their freedom of speech- most of which can only be expressed on social media platforms which are regulated by strict content policies to ensure the appropriate use of social media.

The war has not only brought about supporting sides for the countries in form of hashtags such as #istandwithPutin and #IstandwithUkraine, but has also raised social concerns on issues like racism– against the non-europeans in Ukraine, citizen exposure to arms, satirical memes, candid video showing mass destruction- all of which can be argued to be harmful contents for the online community.

Content Moderators are regarded as the gatekeepers of social media- their job is to ensure that the social media users follow the guidelines and policies created to curtail excesses in online human interaction and communication, thereby making sure the various platforms are a safe place for all.

Facebook for instance, an online service for more than two billion ensures seamless access to credible information by allowing people to freely talk about “what’s on their mind?” in different situations, across different countries and in different languages

Photo by Matti from Pexels

In their quest to empower people to communicate rightly, especially on matters that affect the public interest, Facebook created a content policy which is broadly grouped into four – these are: authenticity, privacy, dignity and safety.

These mean “No misrepresentation of situation”, “No contribution to harmful contents”, “protect personal privacy and information” and “do not degrade or harass others”. These are challenging targets to meet during a war like the Russian-Ukraine by content moderators

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