Facebook Says It Can ‘Remove or Restrict Access’ to Any Content to Avoid Legal Risks, Regulatory Pressure

Users in markets including India, Australia, and the US have received a notification on their Facebook app informing about the update.

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Facebook Says It Can ‘Remove or Restrict Access’ to Any Content to Avoid Legal Risks, Regulatory Pressure

Facebook will implement the new policy on October 1

Highlights
  • Facebook informs users about the update in its terms of service
  • The policy is aimed to “remove or restrict access” to any content
  • Facebook is setting up the stage for the November US elections

Facebook has informed users about an update in its terms of service under which it could “remove or restrict access” to any content that could increase legal or regulatory risks for the company worldwide. The latest move by the social media giant that will be in place across the globe starting October 1 is in contrast with free speech support Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg advocated in his recent public statements. Also, the update emerges amid the ongoing pressure social media companies including Facebook and Twitter are facing by various governments to police content on their platforms.

Various users in markets including India, Australia, and the US on Tuesday received a notification on their Facebook app about the update that says, “We also can remove or restrict access to your content, services, or information if we determine that doing so is reasonably necessary to avoid or mitigate adverse legal or regulatory impacts to Facebook.” It will be under section 3.2 of Facebook's terms of service starting October 1.

Facebook pushed the notification about the update through its app just after it indicated plans to block people and news publishers in Australia from sharing news. However, the new change isn't limited to the Australian market and will be a part of its terms applicable to users globally.

"This global update provides more flexibility for us to change our services, including in Australia, to continue to operate and support our users in response to potential regulation or legal action," a Facebook spokesperson told Gadgets 360.

Users on social media are opposing the change planned by Facebook as it could lead to censoring of content on the platform and gives it the freedom to pull any posts that could lead to a regulatory or legal risk.

 

The update is in contrast of Mark Zuckerberg's public statements promoting free expression on Facebook. However, this isn't the first time when the company is moving towards censoring user content. It, in fact, recently faced criticism over restricting and pulling anti-government posts in Vietnam.

Facebook's timing of tweaking its terms of service is also quite interesting as it comes just ahead of the November US presidential election where it would play a vital role. Also, the change would give authorities in mass markets like the US and India the power to police content even on social media.


Should the government explain why Chinese apps were banned? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Further reading: Facebook, social media
Jagmeet Singh Jagmeet Singh writes about consumer technology for Gadgets 360, out of New Delhi. Jagmeet is a senior reporter for Gadgets 360, and has frequently written about apps, computer security, Internet services, and telecom developments. Jagmeet is available on Twitter at @JagmeetS13 or Email at jagmeets@ndtv.com. Please send in your leads and tips. More
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