Facebook Clarifies Rules on What It Bans and Why

This Tuesday, July 16, 2013, file photo, shows a sign at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Facebook on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013 said it plans to offer 70 million shares of its Class A stock in a sale that includes more than 41 million shares from chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who also will buy Class B shares that carry more voting weight. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)
(AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

Vindu Goel, THE NEW YORK TIMES

(The New York Times)—With 1.39 billion active users worldwide, Facebook’s social network is the closest thing we have to a universal communication platform. And people post — or try to post — just about everything you can imagine.

On Monday, the company will clarify its community standards to give its users more guidance about what types of posts are not allowed on the service.

Facebook walks a delicate line when it tries to ban violent or offensive content without suppressing the free sharing of information that it says it wants to encourage. Its audience is vast, with a huge variance in age, cultural values and laws across the globe. Yet despite its published guidelines, the reasoning behind Facebook’s decisions to block or allow content are often opaque and inconsistent.

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