This post is meant to provide guidelines for how Democracy onAir determines the permissibility and impermissibility of speech and content on the Virginia Elections & Governance Hub and future hubs. These principles are meant to encourage civil and honest discourse without allowing for harassment or threats to personal safety. In case of any questions or concerns, please contact Executive Director Tim O’Shea at firstname.lastname@example.org .
- Research-driven content: Our choice and priorities of content will be formed by research on current topics, interviews and polling on information relevant to our target audience, and internal discussion.
- Full citation and credit: All included information will include source information and hyperlinks.
- Respect and inclusivity. Our platform is meant to promote an open discourse about current politics that is open for all users with that common goal. Any user or content that infringes on that goal will be removed from the platform and disciplined.
- Our takedown rules and guidelines will evolve as political discourse evolves. Our Curation Principles will undergo an annual review to ensure that they match the evolving nature of political discussion. All users will be fully notified of changes to the platform’s guidelines. Ad hoc reviews of rules and guidelines will also occur if needed, and Democracy onAir reserves the right to make case-by-case decisions if content does not fit cleanly into a category but nonetheless runs counter to our general principles.
Civility Standards and Takedowns
Our baseplate definitions are derived from the Facebook Community Standards, subject to modification along our judgements. For purposes below, “protected characteristics” include race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, caste, sex, gender, gender identity, and serious disease or disability. Problematic speech will be classified along the following tiers.
- Tier 1:
- Statements or content against “protected characteristics” including: calls for segregation or exclusion, dehumanizing speech, statements of inferiority or degradation
- Incitement, threat, or promotion of physical harm or violence, including against both public figures as well as common citizens
- Promotion or publicity of terrorist organizations, criminal organizations, or hate organizations
- Coordination or promotion of criminal activity, including the use or sale of non-medical drugs, theft, vandalism, violent crime, sex crimes, hate crimes, or any other criminal violations
- Imagery or links to content of the nature such including: sexual violence or exploitation, beastiality, pornographic or other sexual activity
- Tier 2:
- Statements or content against “protected characteristics” including: use of derogatory slurs
- Repeated unwanted contact with an individual user or users, which we will consider harassment
- Misrepresentation of identity, including impersonation, using a false date of birth, or any other information meant to construct an alternative identity.
- Proliferation of fabricated information, including but not limited to: “deepfakes”, fabricated news stories or images, or intentionally disseminated disinformation.
- Publication of information in violation of intellectual property rights. This includes respect of copyrights, trademarks, and other legal protections, as well as plagiarism.
- Sexual solicitation, including sexual language, images, slang, or sexually explicit language
The punishments for violation of the speech guidelines are tiered in accordance with the severity of the speech.
- Tier 1:
- Immediate ban from the platform, with written notice sent to the banned user.
- Tier 2:
- Takedown of the objectionable content, with written notice sent to user containing a warning and clarification of content rules. Another violation within 6 months of the warning will result in immediate ban from the platform, with written notice sent to the banned user.
Any and all cooperation with law enforcement, in support of civil or criminal proceedings against a Hub user or contributor, will be fully and completely carried out. Democracy onAir will also comply with individuals seeking content removal based on: impersonation of them or someone they serve as guardian for, or violation of Democracy onAir’s curation principles.