Facebook today announced initial testing of the Support Dashboard, a feature that allows you to see what happens after you click the "Report" button. The social networking giant says the feature is designed to help people better understand reporting and educate them about how Facebook goes about resolving issues sent its way. The Support Dashboard is supposed to be directly accessible from your account settings (facebook.com/settings) but at the time of writing it still has not appeared for me.
The Support Dashboard lets you track the progress of the reports you make to Facebook, see if your report has been reviewed by Facebook employees, and alerts you when a decision has been made about a report. Once a report is addressed by Facebook's User Operations team, you will receive a notification that your report has been reviewed, and you will also be able to see why action was or was not taken.
As we've seen many times before, Facebook users often post disagreeable or disturbing content that the company does not remove because it does not violate its rules. If this happens, Facebook says the reporter has the option to message, unfriend, or block the person who posted the content. Under the "Learn More" section next to the reports, Facebook users are directed to the section of the service's Community Standards that applies to their specific report.
During the initial test phase, which Facebook did not give an end date for, the Support Dashboard will only show Timeline and photo content that has been reported. Facebook says it plans to incorporate more types of content to the Support Dashboard in the future, based on feedback received from those who use it.
Facebook says it believes that safety is a shared responsibility, but while many users report content, they often complain there is no way of knowing where the report goes or whether it was handled. The Support Dashboard is supposed to address this criticism.
"We are always looking for ways to make reporting easier and more transparent for the people who use Facebook," Terry Guo, product manager for Support Engineering and Site Integrity, said in a statement. "Through these vital reports, people help us effectively take down content that is against our policies. That is why we are excited to launch this feature that will enable people to track their reports and inform them when action is taken. The hope is that the Support Dashboard will provide greater clarity and accountability to our processes."
This is a great move on Facebook's part. One of the biggest complaints about the site is the lack of communication between staff and its users. I have received countless e-mails asking for help to get in touch with Facebook because all the usual channels of communication attempted are simply ignored.
While this feature by no means solves Facebook's many problems when it comes to reporting content, it's definitely a step in the right direction. That being said, let's hope there is more on the way as this is by no means enough. Facebook has a long way to go in the transparency department.