Facebook Rules About Swearing

By Matt Koble

While Facebook generally promotes free speech, there are some exceptions when it comes to hateful or harassing content. Generally, cursing and swearing is not against Facebook's Terms or Community Standards. If your business is directed at a mature audience, you're free to swear up a storm on your page, provided the cursing doesn't cross into bullying or hate speech. As the Facebook Page Terms state, the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and the Community Standards apply to pages as well as personal profiles.

Bullying and Harassment

Swearing may cross the line into bullying or harassment when it's directed at a specific individual. For example, while using the "f-word" in a post on your page may not be against Facebook's rules, directing it at one of your page's fans could be considered bullying, depending on the context.

Hate Speech

Hate speech is strictly forbidden on Facebook. While not all swear words can be considered "hate speech," there are plenty that may blur the lines and be considered both. According to the Facebook Community Standards, "it is a serious violation to attack a person based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition." More than just the words you're using, determine if how you're using them would offend anybody based on the criteria above.

Age-Appropriate Content

Use common sense when determining if the content you want to post is appropriate for your page's audience. If your business makes toys for children, for example, you don't want to post bad language. However, some businesses cater to older audiences, for whom swearing is not an issue. Your page's Manage Permissions window features an Age Restriction drop-down box. By default, this is set to "Anyone (13+)," but you can change it to "17 and up," 18, 19 or 21. If you prefer to swear on your page, consider setting an age restriction to prevent children from accessing the page.

Block Swearing

For page administrators who don't want swearing on their page, Facebook has profanity filters. These are best used when it's crucial for your business to keep a clean, family-friendly image. Even though you're not posting the content, parents may not appreciate profanity on your page posted from other fans. From your page's Manage Permissions window, the Profanity Blocklist can be set to "None," "Medium" or "Strong." While this feature isn't completely accurate all the time, it goes a long way towards preventing profanity on your page.