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Community standards are local norms bounding acceptable conduct, possibly going beyond legal minimum requirements in relation to either limits on acceptable conduct itself or the manner in which the community will enforce acceptable conduct. Sometimes these standards can be itemized in a list that states the community's values and sets guidelines for participation in the community. Alternatively, informal standards may be imprecisely described as "I'll know it when I see it."

Often, such standards are invoked in legal situations to resolve disputes, especially around pornography. Critics argue that puritanical moralists have used community standards to wrongly punish minorities such as homosexuals or those in interracial marriages.[citation needed]

Some social media companies operate community standards providing rules or guidance on what it is and what it is not acceptable to post online. On 25 April 2017 the UK House of Commons Home Affairs Committee stated:

We welcome the fact that YouTube, Facebook [1] and Twitter all have clear community standards that go beyond the requirements of the law. We strongly welcome the commitment that all three social media companies have to removing hate speech or graphically violent content, and their acceptance of their social responsibility towards their users and towards wider communities."[2]

Colleges and universities enforce their standards through conduct offices in their Student Affairs divisions.[3]


  1. ^ Facebook (2017), Community Standards
  2. ^ House of Commons Home Affairs Committee, Hate crime: abuse, hate and extremism online, published 1 May 2017
  3. ^ E.g. University of Oregon Affirmation of Community Standards, published 13 April 2000, accessed 1 May 2017

External linksEdit

Examples of community standards by various entities: