Facebook is taking several steps in an effort to prevent violence and misinformation in the aftermath of the coming Derek Chauvin murder trial verdict, which jurors began deliberating on Monday.
"We will remove content that violates our Community Standards, including our policies against hate speech, bullying and harassment, graphic violence, and violence and incitement," Vice President, Content Policy Monika Bickert said in a statement Monday. "As we have done in emergency situations in the past, we may also limit the spread of content that our systems predict is likely to violate our Community Standards in the areas of hate speech, graphic violence, and violence and incitement."
The company said it will also "remove Pages, groups, Events and Instagram accounts that violate our violence and incitement policy and we will remove events organized in temporary, high-risk locations that contain calls to bring arms."
Company leaders added they will take extra steps to limit misinformation about the trial by flagging posts. Any posts that contain graphic information will also be flagged, according to the company.
"We know this trial has been difficult for many people," Bickert added. "As the trial comes to a close, we will continue doing our part to help people safely connect and share what they are experiencing."
Former officer Chauvin is accused of killing George Floyd on May 25, 2020 after he was seen on video kneeling on Floyd's neck for several minutes. He's charged with third-degree murder, second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Closing arguments were made Monday.
Since May 2020, protests have erupted worldwide calling for justice.
According to FOX 9 Minneapolis-St. Paul, a protest organized by more than a dozen Twin Cities groups is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday.
Minneapolis Public Schools are moving back to distance learning for the second half of next week in anticipation of a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial.
Across the country, police departments are also preparing for the possibility of rioting or other unrest, with some canceling vacation time and increasing the number of officers available for shifts. The federal government hasn't detailed its plan in the event of widespread or sustained civil unrest.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Monday that there has been a request from officials in Washington, D.C. for D.C. National Guard forces in the event that there is civil unrest in the nation's capital, and it is currently being reviewed by the Army. He said the Army secretary has the authority to approve any request for D.C. National Guard, but did not have details on the request.
The White House has been warily watching the trial proceed in Minneapolis — and then another shooting of a Black man by a white police officer last week — and are preparing for the possibility of unrest if a guilty verdict is not reached in the trial. President Joe Biden may also speak after a guilty verdict, White House aides said.
Facebook has come under increasing pressure to take more of a role in preventing violence and inflammatory speech since the U.S. Capitol Riot on Jan. 6. In an unprecedented step, Facebook and Twitter suspended former President Donald Trump from posting to their platforms following the storming of the U.S. Capitol by his supporters.
Facebook’s quasi-independent oversight board said Friday it will take longer than expected to decide on whether or not the suspension of Trump should be upheld, because it needs more time to go through the deluge of public comments.
Facebook set up the oversight panel to act as the ultimate referee on content decisions, amid furious criticism about its inability to respond to a tide of misinformation, hate speech and other harmful content. The board is empowered to make binding rulings on issues such as whether posts or ads violate the company’s rules.
The social media giant regularly takes down thousands of posts and accounts. Since it was launched in October, the board has received some 300,000 appeals from users over content decisions, but it is prioritizing cases that have the potential to affect many users around the world. It has overturned decisions in five of the seven cases it has ruled on so far.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.