Fact check: Users cannot block Facebook community standards through settings

The claim: Blocking ‘Community Standards’ on Facebook gives users ability to violate the platform’s rules

Facebook’s community standards outline what content violates the platform’s rules.

Some social media users are claiming those rules and policies can be avoided by and blocking “Community Standards” in the Settings space. 

“For those of you that are constantly in Facebook jail like myself here is a way you can avoid that. Go to your settings, then scroll down to blocking & type in ‘Community Standards’ after that you shouldn’t have anymore problems with your Facebook going against community standards,” reads a Feb. 21 Facebook meme with over 1,200 shares. “Be sure to share and help a friend.” 

Accompanying the text are two screenshots of blocked accounts and a prompt that states, “Community Standards will no longer be able to see your posts, tag you, invite you to events or groups, message you or add you as a friend.”

USA TODAY reached out to the Facebook user for comment.

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Users don’t have the ability turn off community standards

Facebook has a three-part approach on addressing “problematic content” across its family of apps, according to its site. While users can block certain messages, pages or users, they do not have the ability to block community standards. 

Facebook spokesperson Kevin McAlister said “that claim is inaccurate” and pointed to a line from Facebook’s “Dignity” section under its community standards. 

“Our Community Standards apply to everyone, all around the world, and to all types of content. They’re designed to be comprehensive,” Facebook’s “Community Standards” reads. “For example, content that might not be considered hateful may still be removed for violating a different policy.”

The community standards on Facebook state that users cannot post or share death threats, sexual nudity, bullying and harassment, the sharing or soliciting of private information, and graphic content that glorifies violence.

Further, as part of Facebook’s account integrity and authenticity rules, users are not allowed to use fake accounts, share manipulated media or spam content that is designed to deceive. 

In order to use the platform, all users are required to agree to Facebook’s terms of service, which state that users may not use Facebook products to do or share anything that violates its terms, community standards or other terms and policies that apply.

Users also cannot do or share anything unlawful, misleading, discriminatory or fraudulent, or anything that infringes or violates someone else’s rights, including intellectual property rights, per Facebook’s terms of service.  

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How policies are enforced

According to the site’s Community Standards Enforcement Report, any kind of content that is considered to be a violation on Facebook is also considered a violation on Instagram. Content that is flagged as a violation through technology or from the community is then sent to the platform’s Community Operations Team for review. 

A search of “Community Standards” on Facebook results in meme accounts making jokes about the platform’s policies. Blocking “Community Standards” through settings would only block pages similar to this one, not Facebook’s actual community sandards. 

USA TODAY has previously debunked false claims surrounding Facebook’s policies and community standards.

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Our rating: False

Posts claiming that users can avoid Facebook’s rules and policies by blocking “Community Standards” under their settings are FALSE, based on our research. Facebook users agree to its community standards when using the platform and users do not have the ability to block Facebook policies, only other pages and users. Blocking “Community Standards” will only block an account created under that name. 

Our fact-check sources:

  • Facebook’s “Third-Party Fact-Checking Program”
  • Facebook “Community Standards”
  • Facebook “Terms of Service”
  • Facebook, “Understanding the Community Standards Enforcement Report”
  • Facebook “Community Standards” page
  • USA TODAY, July 10, 2020, “Fact check: Facebook does not ban the positing of the Lord’s Prayer”
  • USA TODAY, Sept. 16, 2020, “Fact check: Facebook isn’t removing users or posts that support the NRA”
  • USA TODAY, Jan. 25, “Fact check: Facebook configuration change caused users to be logged out”
  • Kevin McAlister email to USA TODAY

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Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

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