Facebook Reveals 7-Point Plan for the Derek Chauvin Trial Verdict

Facebook has revealed details about how it intends to moderate posts about any verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial, in an effort to limit "civil unrest" and real-world violence.

The jury could deliver its verdict in the trial of Chauvin, the Minneapolis officer accused of murdering of George Floyd last year, as soon as this week.

In an announcement on Monday, Facebook said it would identify and remove calls to bring arms to Minneapolis and would offer a higher level of protection to content about Floyd's death than to content about Chauvin.

Facebook outlined its approach to moderating posts concerning the verdict that it said was designed to allow "people to speak about the trial and what the verdict means" while "protect[ing] everyone's safety."

The plan included seven key actions. They are:

  1. Removing calls to bring arms to Minneapolis, which Facebook has "temporarily deemed to be a high-risk location"
  2. Monitoring to determine if other locations become high-risk
  3. Facebook will remove "severe" online attacks against Chauvin (who Facebook deems a public figure)
  4. Removing content that praises, celebrates or mocks George Floyd's death (as an "involuntary public figure," Floyd will be given a higher level of protection)
  5. Deploying third-party fact-checkers to counter misinformation
  6. Flagging "graphic" content
  7. Keeping in close contact with local, state and federal law enforcement

These actions apply to both Facebook and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.

The statement, released on Facebook's official blog by content policy vice president Monika Bickert, said the company would "allow people to discuss, critique and criticize the trial and the attorneys involved."

It added that moderators would step in and "remove content that violates our community standards."

Facebook's statement reflects heightened tensions across the U.S. which continue to run high ahead of the verdict.

The closing arguments in the trial began earlier today after the prosecution and defense had their cases heard.

The 12 jurors will then deliberate whether Chauvin is guilty of Floyd's murder, which could last anywhere from a few hours to weeks.

Judge Peter Cahil told jurors they should "plan for long, hope for short" when the defense rested its case on Thursday.

Chauvin faces second-and third-degree murder and manslaughter charges after he knelt on Floyd's neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds.

Minneapolis is now bracing for a potential wave of demonstrations and violence, should jurors find Chauvin not guilty of murder.

The National Guard has been stationed in the areas surrounding the Hennepin County Courthouse and the building itself has been boarded up.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) told reporters if a guilty verdict is not reached in the trial "we cannot go away," and called on protestors to get "more confrontational" in response.

Texas GOP lawmaker Ted Cruz hit out against Waters' comments in a tweet, which read: "Democrats actively encouraging riots and violence. They want to tear us apart."

Facebook will moderate content regarding the trial
Facebook will moderate content regarding the Derek Chauvin trial. In this photo illustration, a smart phone screen displays the logo of Facebook on a Facebook website background, on April 7, 2021, in Arlington, Virginia. OLIVIER DOULIERY / Contributor/Getty