February 22nd, 2012 By | News | Posted In: News, Internet, Censorship, Technology

Here's What Facebook Censors

Moroccan contractor leaks secret document revealing strange guidelines


Never piss off the proletariat.

Upset about his low pay and dismal working conditions, a worker at one of Facebook’s Third World contractors has leaked the social media site’s ultra-secret document about what type of content it censors.

Amine Derkaoui, a 21-year-old Moroccan man, worked for an outsourcing firm last year that scanned Facebook members’ pages for banned content. Given Facebook’s profitability, Derkaoui became angry about its stinginess with workers.

As a result, Derkaoui gave
a copy of Facebook’s internal guidelines about what content it will delete to Gawker, a top Internet gossip site.

Some of the forbidden items are obvious like racial slurs, depictions of human or animal mutilation, photographs or cartoons of sexual activity, violent speech and content that organizes or promotes illegal activity.

But some of the other verboten items are more unusual, if not downright strange.

For example, naked “private parts” including female nipple bulges and butt cracks are forbidden, but male nipples are allowed.

The list specifically mentions “mothers breastfeeding” as unacceptable.

Also, most depictions of bodily fluids are unacceptable, but not all. It lists “urine, feces, vomit, semen, pus and ear wax" as unacceptable (yes, ear wax). But, it helpfully notes, “cartoon feces, urine and spit are OK; real and cartoon snot is OK.” Well, that's good to know.

Other items subject to deletion include cartoon nudity, images of internal organs, bones, muscles, tendons and “deep flesh wounds,” along with “blatant (obvious) depiction of camel toes and moose knuckles.” (Confession: I had to Google “moose knuckle” to know what that meant.)

Images of “crushed heads, limbs, etc. are OK,” however, as long as “no insides are showing” and the person posting them doesn’t express delight or gratification.

Moreover, all criticism of Ataturk, the founder of the nation of Turkey, along with images depicting the burning of Turkish flags are forbidden. It’s believed this restriction is due to certain European laws that, if violated, could cause the site to be blocked in Turkey.

The 17-page manual includes
a one-page “cheat sheet” so workers can quickly reference it when making decisions about what to delete.

Gawker said Derkaoui found his job through the outsourcing firm oDesk, which provides content moderation services for Facebook and Google. About 50 people across the globe — mostly in Turkey, the Philippines, Mexico and India — work to moderate Facebook content. They work from home in four-hour shifts and earn $1 per hour plus commissions.

"It's humiliating. They are just exploiting the Third World," Derkaoui told Gawker.

02.23.2012 at 10:09 Reply

Kevin, I read that on Gawker the other day expecting to be outraged (they censor facebook!) and by the time I finished it I was 1) grateful that they censor facebook, 2) horrified that there are people anywhere who would consider "animal mutilation" "crushed heads" and etc. a cute thing to post online, 3) traumatized on behalf of the 50 people who do this horrifying work. You couldn't pay me enough. Plus, I had to Google "moose knuckles" too - glad I'm not the only one.


08.20.2012 at 11:59 Reply

8-20-2012 The scum running Facebook have really hit a new low, even for them, in both maliciousness and incompetence.  The screenshots documenting this recent series of events are at http://www.facebookcensorship.com  It really will take a class action lawsuit to get them cleaned up.


03.28.2014 at 05:34 Reply

I recently discovered - and this is a unique insight you may not see anywhere else on the internet - that Facebook is not only censoring material such as that which you have outlined in your piece, and not only using a censorship method that evolves deletion. No, I now observe that it is actually censoring perfectly inoffensive material and its method of censorship does not involve deletion but, rather, it prevents certain links going up in the first place.  


I now have a list of over one hundred URLs that simply will not upload on to the Facebook portal as a status update.  As I say, the material I have thus far collected is perfectly inoffensive. Having said this, the material may possibly be of a 'sensitive' nature.  Whatever the reason, my list of web links that you can not publish on Facebook grows by the week.  I may start a blog to list them.  Curiously, so far, all links so far have pertained to speculative cached pages on ancient "free" energy systems, and also, pages concerning connevtions between the date, September 11th, and 'celestial' interpretations of certain scripture.  Weird. But censored. Really. If I put a list up on a blog, and I have not discovered a techical explanation for this, I shall endeavour to return here and point you there. X


03.28.2014 at 05:38 Reply

Some howling typos in my previous message, sorry (touchphone) :)