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Facebook to try to protect children of Hong Kong police officers who have suffered cyberbullying

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By Shawn Lim, Reporter, Asia Pacific

December 5, 2019 | 3 min read

Facebook is moving to protect the children of Hong Kong police officers after they became victims of cyberbullying and doxxing attacks during the city’s ongoing protests.

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This has seen the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data receiving more than 2,600 cases.

The new policy, which came into force globally in September, sees Facebook removing content designed to identify children and create risks to their safety.

The city has been rocked over the past by six months by its citizens protesting over a controversial extradition bill, which has since been withdrawn and expressing their unhappiness with how China is governing the island.

The protests have turned violent in nature, with police and protesters engaging in street battles every week as protesters want their four other demands, including universal suffrage, be met by the Hong Kong and Chinese central government.

This has seen the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data receiving more than 2,600 cases relating to doxxing and cyberbullying suffered by both protesters and police officers, with the latter’s children photos being posted online.

“We saw photos of police officers’ children being posted,” Simon Harari, a content policy manager at Facebook told The South China Morning Post.

“But in these images, there were no threats that could trigger removal under the company’s previous policies that only banned violence and slurs. I think we can all agree that children have no business being put on Facebook against their will and being made part of this debate.”

Industry experts previously told The Drum that the threat to doing business in the city for international brands is being drawn into the politics of the day.

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