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Facebook intensifies content moderation ahead of Derek Chauvin verdict

The social media giant says it's aiming to protect peaceful protests and to limit content that could lead to civil unrest or violence.

Facebook says it's working around the clock to keep people safe.
Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

As the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged with the murder of George Floyd, draws to a close, Facebook has outlined the ways in which it is preparing to deal with any fallout as the verdict is announced

Across Facebook and Instagram, moderators are working "around the clock" to look for potential threats, Monika Bickert, vice president of content policy, said Monday in a blog post. The company's aim is to "protect peaceful protests and limit content that could lead to civil unrest or violence," she said.

Bickert said the company is making a concerted effort to protect the memory of Floyd, who was killed last May in Minneapolis, as well as his family members from abuse. Any content that praises, celebrates or mocks George Floyd's death will be removed, she said.

As Chauvin is a public figure, any attacks that are classed as "severe" according to Facebook's policies will also be removed.

With the risk of violence high following the announcement of the verdict, no matter which way it goes, Facebook has also promised to remain in close contact with law enforcement and to respond to any valid legal requests. Any calls to bring arms to Minneapolis or other areas classified as "high risk" will be identified and taken down.

People will be allowed to discuss, critique and criticize the trial and the attorneys involved, but any content that violates community standards, including hate speech, bullying and harassment, graphic violence, and violence and incitement, will be removed. Facebook will also take extra steps to limit the spread of misinformation, and graphic or sensitive content will be blurred.

"We know this trial has been difficult for many people," said Bickert. "But we also realize that being able to discuss what is happening and what it means with friends and loved ones is important. As the trial comes to a close, we will continue doing our part to help people safely connect and share what they are experiencing."