Speed Reads

facebook 101

New York Times columnist discovers people can get stories featuring their houses removed from Facebook

There's a surprisingly easy, but apparently little known way to get a news article taken down from Facebook, The New York Times' media columnist Ben Smith writes.

Smith made his discovery after talking to a senior Facebook lawyer who spoke on condition of anonymity (with the company's approval) about the decision to remove a New York Post article detailing how much a Black Lives Matter activist paid for her house from the platform. The Post, which traditionally leans to the right on the political spectrum, accused Facebook of trying to silence its journalism, but Smith learned that the decision fell under company policy. The specific rule is that if an article shows your house or apartment, you can complain to Facebook, which will then make sure none of its users can share the article on their timeline or via Facebook Messenger.

There don't appear to be any ifs, ands, or buts, about the policy, either. Dozens of articles could be taken down per day if people wanted; for example, Smith writes that, hypothetically, if former President Donald Trump was "annoyed about a story that includes a photo of him outside his suite at Mar-a-Lago" he could bring it up with Facebook and get it taken down. The main reason that doesn't happen, Smith suggests, seems to be the simple fact that few people are aware of the policy, which the Facebook lawyer described as "super clear." Read more at The New York Times.