Facebook Support Dashboard Marks Beneficial Policy Shift

Posted by · April 26, 2012 11:42 am

In the ever-so-buzzworthy name of increased transparency and shared responsibility, Facebook introduced its new Support Dashboard on Thursday. After incurring a significant amount of user feedback requesting a way to track their reports of content abuse, the social network has finally decided to make a move to appease those requests.

“The Support Dashboard is a portal designed to help you track the progress of the reports you make on Facebook,” Facebook explained in a blog post. “From your Support Dashboard, you can see if your report has been reviewed by Facebook employees who asses reports 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in dozens of languages.”

Now serving more than 900 million users, Facebook is clearly interested in retaining those customers by reaching out to them in ways that not only make them feel heard, but also make them feel more secure. By shifting to a policy of increased transparency, the social site is hoping that users will be more satisfied in the way that it addresses—or doesn’t address—user-reported issues.

“[T]he Support Dashboard gives people more of an understanding of why action was or was not taken,” Facebook continues. “Because Facebook is a diverse community, it’s possible that things people post can be disagreeable or disturbing without meeting the criteria to be removed.”

In such cases, Facebook encourages users who feel uncomfortable with such content to utilize other means of addressing their concerns.

“If content is not removed, the reporter also has the option to message, unfriend or block the person who posted the content.”

In other words, Facebook is interested in steering clear of any semblance of being a free speech suppressor or censor as it makes its public debut and seeks to repair its embattled privacy record.

In turn, the benefits of this policy shift will be twofold. For users—both those filing reports and those being reported—a greater sense of autonomy and involvement in the reporting process will make Facebook feel safer, as well as make users feel like they have an influence in the way the site is run.

For Facebook, on the other hand, this all equals one massive PR boost. And frankly, the timing couldn’t be better.