Facebook opens up guidelines about allowed content

The way that Facebook decides what is and isn't allowed on the service has at times seemed completely random, but the company does have a set of content guidelines that define the types of content that will get taken down by the company's moderation team.

A year ago those guidelines leaked for the first time, however Facebook didn't seem to understand why it needed to be public. A year on, under pressure from users and the government to be more transparent, the guidelines are officially going public — and there's a new appeals process.

The 27-page-long rules cover everything from bullying to whether nipples are allowed on Facebook (pretty much nope) and outline the processes that the company follows to remove this type of content. 

One of the problems with Facebook's moderation policies has been with those who find themselves on the wrong side of the process — you might lose your account or access to post without any recourse. 

That, however, is changing as well, with a new appeals process designed to at least allow users who feel wronged by Facebook's army of contracted moderators to apply for reconsideration within 24 hours. 

But — why now? For years, these rules have been opaque for a reason: Facebook wanted to be able to move the line whenever it felt like it. One could argue that Facebook is trying to win some points with users — it almost certainly is — but the team behind this hopes to get feedback from the larger user base.

These types of moves are likely to be increasingly common in the coming months. Facebook has repeatedly highlighted that it would like the community to drive the platform forward, and even if that feels like a bit of an excuse, it's a welcome change to a platform that was infamously random in how it handled these types of issues.

Spotify is still invested in free

Remember that drama with Taylor Swift and Spotify, where the superstar pulled her catalog from the service in protest of its free tier, then Apple used that as a marketing chip? It's ancient history, and Spotify is still focused on those free users.

At an over-hyped event in New York yesterday, Spotify unveiled an entire new free tier focused on pulling in those free users and getting them hooked on personalized A.I. recommendations, rather than throwing them in the same experience as paid users.

The biggest news out of the event, however, is a change to Spotify's free limits. Until today, users could only listen on shuffle, but now they'll be able to listen on demand to music... as long as it appears on one of these personalized playlists.

With 90 million free users, Spotify's renewed focus on these users is clearly designed for helping with conversion. Alongside its new collaboration with Hulu, which you get for free with a premium subscription, Spotify is trying to find more ways to push people across the line.

Of all of my paid subscriptions, like Netflix, HBO and Spotify, the latter is the one I get the most value out of and use daily — so I'm always surprised by how many people don't care about the obnoxious ads it runs in an attempt to upgrade.  

As competition continues to grow from Apple Music, Spotify sees this as a race to win users over — before they're locked into an alternative.

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