A series of protests have pressured Facebook into altering its policies on how it deals with hate speech directed at women on the social network.
On top of altering its policies, Facebook will increase the accountability of content creators and train staff to deal with complaints.
The move follows a week of campaigning by Women, Action and the Media, the Everyday Sexism Project and activist Soraya Chemaly, who were joined by over 100 advocacy groups demanding change.
In the past, Facebook has cited freedom of speech as a reason to leave potentially offensive content alone, although the decision by at least 15 advertisers to pull their business from the platform is likely to have played a major role in Facebook changing its attitude.
Content published, often by groups or communities, included pictures of Rihanna’s beaten face with the caption ‘Chris Brown’s Greatest Hits’, a reference to the 2009 assault on the singer.
In a statement announcing its changes, Facebook clarified that it allows content that is “offensive or controversial”, but draws the line at “harmful content”.
“We define harmful content as anything organising real world violence, theft, or property destruction, or that directly inflicts emotional distress on a specific private individual.”
It added that its systems “have failed to work as effectively as we would like”, and promised to establish new guidelines that ensure such content doesn’t find a home on users’ Facebook feeds.