Facebook takes steps on bullying, harassment with keyword blocks

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Facebook will start letting users block certain offensive or unwanted comments from their posts by selecting keywords they don’t want to see.

The new tool is one of Facebook’s efforts to improve people’s experience on the site. The move comes long after similar efforts by other social media platforms. Facebook-owned Instagram and Twitter both introduced keyword-blocking features in 2016.

Facebook is tackling the effects of bullying now that it’s focusing on not just increasing activity on the site, but the quality of interactions - sometimes at the expense of engagement. Earlier this year, chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg said he was encouraging "meaningful conversations" and "time well-spent" in the news feed, instead of just time spent.

Facebook will also make it possible to report bullying on behalf of a friend or family member, the company said in a blog post on Tuesday.

When content is removed, those who posted it can appeal the decision. When it stays up despite a report, those who reported it can also ask for the decision to be reviewed.

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