2018 AIN'T FACEBOOK'S YEAR as it keeps plunging headfirst into controversy, this time with Channel 4 discovering that the firm isn't deleting images of child abuse and racist comments.
In a documentary titled "Inside Facebook: Secrets of the Social Network", a Channel 4 reporter posed as a Facebook moderator and discovered that a lot of deeply nasty content was deliberately left on the social network.
While moderators have the option to delete, mark as disturbing, or ignore content when reviewing it, the reporter discovered that content flagged as disturbing remains on the site but limits who can view it.
As a result, images that included instances of child abuse and racism, as well as inflammatory racist comment were ended up being left on the site, due to an inconsistent approach to moderation.
One such example was a video of a man beating a boy which despite being reported remained on Facebook years after it was flagged. Facebook claimed it didn't violate its terms at the time, though the social network later told Channel 4 it should have been taken down.
However, >Business Insider noted it could still find a version of the video on Facebook.
This is rather disturbing stuff. Yet despite Facebook's policies stating it won't accept hate speech, Channel 4's undercover investigation still found examples of hate speech not being purged from Facebook.
One such example was a comment that told Muslim immigrants to "f*ck off back to your own countries". As the comment was aimed at immigrants rather than just Muslims, it was deemed acceptable as a form of debate rather than hate speech. Slow clap to you, Facebook.
"People are debating very sensitive issues on Facebook, including issues like immigration. And that debate can be entirely legitimate," said Richard Allan, Facebook's vice president of public policy told Channel 4 in a comment on the comment, noting it was just about on the line separating debate for hate speech.
We're not so convinced, so we asked Facebook for further comment but the social network has yet to reply.
However, Allan told Business Insider that Facebook will work harder to combat the controversy the documentary unearthed.
"It's clear that some of what is shown in the program does not reflect Facebook's policies or values, and falls short of the high standards we expect," Allan said.
"We take these mistakes in some of our training processes and enforcement incredibly seriously and are grateful to the journalists who brought them to our attention. Where we know we have made mistakes, we have taken action immediately. We are providing additional training and are working to understand exactly what happened so we can rectify it."
Facebook really isn't showering itself in glory this year, with the Cambridge Analytica data sharing scandal still pretty fresh and news of it accidentally making the private posts of some 14 million users public.
And now with the apparent moderation problems, Facebook has another issue to address; perhaps it'll bring more artificial intelligence tech to bear in order to purge its social network of trolls, racists, and general utter bastards. µ
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Source : https://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/3036091/facebooks-skewed-moderation-leaves-child-abuse-and-racism-on-the-social-network