HOAX – Facebook ‘No Swearing Campain’

Circulating message purporting to be from Mark Zuckerberg claims that Facebook is set to launch a ‘no swearing campain’ and that people subsequently caught using profanity on the network will have their accounts locked pending further investigations. The first version began circulating in 2014. A later version, which is apparently intended to be an April Fool’s joke, claims that the campaign will be launched on April 1st 2018.

Brief Analysis:
The claims in the message are utter nonsense. Facebook is not launching such a ‘campain’ (or even a ‘campaign’ for that matter), and the message is not from Mark Zuckerberg. The message is just a silly hoax and should not be taken seriously.

No Swearing Campain
facebookAs of March 20/2014 we at facebook will be launching a ‘No Swearing’ Campain, Anyone caught using profanity will have their account locked further a pending investigation.This is due to the new laws issued by our legal department (section 182P34b) as new advertisers have petitioned for a ‘cleaner’ family friendly social network.If a user continues to use profanity the account will be shut down and a permanent ban will be placed into effect immediately.- Mark Zuckerberg


No Swearing Campaign 2018

Detailed Analysis:
According to this social media driven message, starting on March 20th 2014, Facebook will be implementing a ‘no swearing campain’ in an attempt to curtail profanity on the network. The message claims that after the launch date, people caught swearing on Facebook will have their accounts locked pending further investigation. And, claims the message, people who continue to use profanity on the network will have their accounts permanently and immediately shut down. A later version, which is apparently intended to be an April Fool’s joke claims that the campaign is set to be launched on April 1st 2018.

Supposedly, the new ‘laws’ about swearing have been issued by Facebook’s legal department in response to pressure from advertisers.

The message, which is rendered as a graphic, claims to come directly from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself.

However, the claims in the message are utter nonsense. Facebook has made no announcement about an anti-profanity campaign like the one described and Mark Zuckerberg certainly did not send out the message.

The message is apparently just a silly prank. Or it perhaps represents one user’s rather lame attempt to scare people into swearing less on Facebook.

Presumably, if Facebook were to launch such an initiative, it would at least check the spelling and grammar used in any notification messages before sending them. And, despite the profound influence that Facebook may have on some of its users, Facebook is not a government. Therefore, while it may implement terms of use, update policies and expect users to follow a set of community standards, it cannot issue ‘laws’.

Facebook does not have any specific rules (or even laws) about profanity. However, depending on the context, use of profanity might be considered hate speech or bullying and harassment and could therefore contravene Facebook’s Community Standards and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

And, for the record, Facebook Page managers already have access to a profanity filter that they can enable and configure if they feel it is necessary.

Some users may well be offended by how much profanity they encounter on Facebook. But, annoying other Facebook users by sharing this inane prank message is likely to incite even more bad language.

Last updated: March 17, 2017
First published: March 4, 2014
By Brett M. Christensen
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