Monika Bickert, head of Facebook’s product policy, is responsible for the team that sets content standards on the world’s largest social media site with over 1.3 billion users. She decides what people can post and say, as well as guides the enforcement of these policies. And every time a piece of content is reported to Facebook it is her team’s job to review it and apply their content standards to it. Excerpts from an exclusive interview with Nandagopal Rajan.
A: Our job is to provide a space for people to connect and share things that are important to them and at the same time make sure that we are keeping those people safe and free from abuse. That is extremely challenging given the size of our population and its global diversity. It is something we are very committed to and we are working hard everyday to get it right and get better at it.
Q: Is there some part that is especially challenging and is it getting tougher to do your job these days?
A: There are two primary difficulties with the job. People come from very different backgrounds and legal systems. They sometimes have different ideas about what is okay to share and what is not. But we have to have one set of standards to apply across the globe for the entire community. We have to do that because we want them all to have the ability to interact across the borders with the same speech. We are trying to do these lines for what type of content is acceptable and that becomes very challenging.
The second challenge is that we have 1.3 billion people and that means we do get a lot of reports. We want to be able to respond to those reports efficiently and consistently. We want to make sure we are making the same decision about a piece of content reported from India and Mexico wherever the reviewer is based. For that reason we have to craft our policies to be very objective. We can’t tell our reviewers to take down a post that is tasteless or impolite for people will have very different ideas of what that means. This is why the policies at times have to be more blunt than we would like them to be.