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Facebook notifies people it can remove or block content to avoid regulatory risk

The social network is updating its terms of service.

Angela Lang/CNET

Facebook is notifying people about an update to its terms of service that will let the social network remove or restrict content that may have regulatory or legal impacts on the company. The move is related to Facebook's threat to remove news from its platform in Australia, but the change will apply globally. 

"Effective October 1, 2020, section 3.2 of our Terms of Service will be updated to include: '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,'" reads the notification sent to Facebook users starting Monday evening. 

The global update gives Facebook more flexibility to change its service, including in Australia, to continue to operate in response to potential regulation or legal action, said a company spokesperson on Tuesday.

The broad language of the change could allow Facebook to do "whatever it deems necessary" to maintain its business amid shifting regulations around the world, according to Bloomberg

Screenshot by CNET

Facebook has faced scrutiny for how it moderates content, an effort made even more difficult by the coronavirus pandemic. The company has also been accused of not doing enough to combat hate speech, an issue that prompted an ad boycott in July. 

On Monday, Facebook publicly released its recommendation guidelines, which dictate what pages, groups, events and posts get suggested to you on the social network.