Facebook has become integral to the work of journalists around the world. Yet journalists’ use of the largest social network can put them and their sources at risk if they don’t know how to keep safe on the platform.
CPJ often hears from journalists who say that they want Facebook to be more responsive to their safety concerns. So, when Facebook approached CPJ to partner on its Safety for Journalists initiative, we agreed. CPJ, which helps thousands of journalists around the world and reports on the threats and challenges faced by the press, is well placed to help Facebook understand risks and respond more quickly and specifically to improve journalist safety.
Whether it’s implementing Tor hidden services or adding PGP encryption features, there are specific steps Facebook has taken to make it easier for journalists to use the platform safely. Communicating more directly with journalists about safety is another important step they are now taking.
To kick off the safety initiative, the social network launched 10 Facebook Safety Tips for Journalists, which track with the guidance CPJ has provided to journalists over the years. Our Emergencies Response Team will continue to review and provide feedback on these types of resources even as we work with the company at a policy level and through the Global Network Initiative to encourage policies that promote and protect press freedom. We will also continue to work with Facebook and other social media platforms to more effectively respond to and combat online abuse of journalists, including women, in the United States and around the world.
This partnership does not mean CPJ endorses Facebook’s entire Journalism Project or that we don’t maintain concerns about its real-name policy or trends toward the privatization of censorship. Recognizing the particular vulnerabilities journalists face on Facebook and working to address these is an important step toward making the practice of journalism at least a little bit safer.