Our approach to newsworthy content


JAN 19, 2022

We want people to be able to talk openly about the issues that matter to them, even if some may disagree or find them objectionable. In rare cases, we allow content on Facebook or Instagram if it’s newsworthy and if keeping it visible is in the public interest, even if the content violates the Facebook Community Standards or Instagram Community Guidelines.

We do this only after conducting a balancing test that weighs the public interest against the risk of harm. We look to international human rights standards, as reflected in our Corporate Human Rights Policy, to help make these judgments.

Our newsworthiness allowance

We introduced our newsworthiness allowance in October 2016 after receiving global criticism for removing the iconic “Napalm Girl” photo. We’ve found that determining the newsworthiness of a piece of content can be highly subjective. People often disagree about what standards should be in place to ensure a community is both safe and open to expression.

When making a newsworthy determination, we assign special value to content that surfaces imminent threats to public health or safety or that gives voice to perspectives currently being debated as part of a political process. We also consider other factors, such as:

  • Country-specific circumstances (for example, whether there is an election underway, or the country is at war).

  • The nature of the speech, including whether it relates to governance or politics.

  • The political structure of the country, including whether it has a free press.

We remove content, even if it has some degree of newsworthiness, when leaving it up presents a risk of harm, such as physical, emotional and financial harm, or a direct threat to public safety.

Content from all sources, including news outlets, politicians, or other people, is eligible for a newsworthy allowance. While the speaker may factor into the balancing test, we do not presume that any person’s speech is inherently newsworthy, including by politicians.