Reporting violations on Google, Facebook and WordPressContext
Social media is a modern-time phenomenon with so many implications globally that it is difficult to encompass all of them on a singular page. One implication which may have a negative impact on our daily lives and even business is social media’s proneness to secure the environment and means for cyber bullying, uploading harmful content as well as disseminating hate speech.

Google and Facebook as leading tech giants have come a long way setting up in place and updating a number of policies and safety requirements, including procedures and tools for reporting content which allegedly interferes with your rights. WordPress, “a publishing, rather than a file sharing platform”, powers loads of websites on the Internet, thus in turn creating possibilities for potential violations (copyright and other IP rights, for example, might be interfered with).

Categories of violations
When setting off to report content on Google, Facebook, including Instagram, and WordPress, you should start by defining what content exactly (page, post, photo, message, account, website, etc.) you are to report and for what purported violation before embarking on the specific procedures and mechanisms.

Normally, there’s overlapping between the different categories of violations which can be reported on social media platforms: ‘Spam and Abuse’, ‘Violence’, ‘Hate speech’, ‘Terrorist content’, Privacy issues, ‘Harassment’, ‘Nudity/Sexually explicit content’, Intellectual property issues like Copyright or Trademark infringements, etc. You can also report false information (including fake news) on Facebook where each category has sub-categories of violations to choose from.

On WordPress, websites can be reported for pretty much the same reasons – for featuring content that is spam, mature, abusive, violent, promoting self-harm/suicide, infringing copyright, or containing private information. WordPress review users’ take-down notices very stringently, especially so as not to limit freedom of speech (a use case from our practice in this regard, for example, refers to a trademark infringement).

Do It Yourself (DIY)
Having determined the category of a violation you are reporting, you then need to follow the specific instructions of the respective social media platform, including filling in forms like Google Forms, for instance.

For Intellectual Property infringements, you must file forms like Trademark Report Form and the Trademark Complaint Form with drop-down sections on Facebook. On WordPress, a Trademark Infringement form is available for users to submit their complaint when deeming that a website hosted by Automattic on is infringing on their trademark. In such a case and prior to submitting the form, WordPress advise users to first start with this question, “Is the website using your trademark to review or criticize your products or service?" If so, this is not trademark infringement.” In practice, this admissibility criterion makes it very difficult to make a breakthrough in WordPress’ policy and to actually have the substance of your complaint effectively revised.

If you are reporting Hate speech and other violations, here are instructions for how to do it on your own on Google and Facebook general reporting pages. In addition, Facebook Help Center has a special page, ‘Abuse resources’, focusing on abuse, violence, cyber bullying and other such harmful behavior/content here and what safety measures are at your disposal.

It is also recommendable to read Facebook Community Standards and Google Code of Conduct for further clarifications.

…or better contact us!

In many cases, when reporting content, it turns out to be for legal reasons precisely. Trademark (TM), copyright and other IP rights as well as your right to respect for private life, including data privacy, might be at stake. This calls for professional help and solutions.

For legal advice and assistance in connection with reporting violations on Google, Facebook and WordPress, do not hesitate to contact us here.

Pavla Tsvetkova

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