New Facebook features to protect users from bullying, harassment

San Francisco: Embroiled in a massive data breach and facing $1.63 billion in fine from the European Union (EU) privacy watchdog, Facebook on Tuesday introduced a new feature for its 2.3 billion users to hide or delete multiple comments at once from the options menu of their post.

This feature is rolling out on desktop and Android and will be available on iOS in the coming months.

“We are also testing ways to more easily search for and block offensive words from appearing in comments,” said Antigone Davis, Global Head of Safety at Facebook.

“If you see a friend or family member being bullied or harassed, now you can report someone on their behalf via the menu above the post that you are concerned about.”

Facebook community operations team will review the post, keep the report anonymous, and determine whether it violates its community standards.

People will also be able to appeal decisions on cases involving bullying and harassment.

Earlier this year, Facebook announced a process that allows people to request another review of their photo, video or post that has been taken down for violating community standards for nudity and sexual activity, hate speech or graphic violence.

“We have now extended these reviews to bullying and harassment violations – this means that if your content has been taken down for bullying or harassment, you will have the opportunity to request another review,” said Facebook.

If Facebook does not take it down after its initial review, users can also ask for a second review if they think the social media giant made a mistake.

“In the coming weeks, we will further expand our policies to better protect public figures against harassment regardless of age,” said Davis.

The announcement comes at a time when Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, which is Facebook’s lead privacy regulator in Europe, has asked Facebook to submit more details in the incident where data of over 50 million users were hacked via “Access Tokens” or digital keys.

The privacy watchdog could fine Facebook as much as $1.63 billion for the data breach.

In the biggest-ever security breach after Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook last week admitted that hackers broke into nearly 50 million users’ accounts by stealing their “access tokens” or digital keys.