Is Facebook keeping up with international standards on freedom of expression? A time-series ana...

Konstantinos STYLIANOU

Through an exhaustive tracking of the evolution of relevant documents, we assess the compatibility of Facebook's content policies with applicable international standards on freedom of expression, not only regarding Facebook's current policies (as of late 2020), but historically as well starting from Facebook's founding. The historical dimension allows us to observe how Facebook's response has changed through time, and how freedom of expression has evolved and how emphasis has shifted to new areas of speech, issues, or groups, particularly online. Our reserach highlights areas where progress was noticed, and areas where progress has been insufficient, making relevant recommendations. Our overall finding is that in virtually all areas of freedom of expression we tracked, Facebook responded slowly to develop content moderation policies that were up to international standards. While the international community was more proactive, it too missed opportunities for timely guidance on key areas.