Leaked Documents Reveal Facebook’s Biased, Convoluted Censorship Policies

Since the 2016 US Presidential election, when the phrase ‘fake news’ entered the vernacular, Facebook has employed thousands of human moderators tasked with identifying what is and is not acceptable content to be posted on the censorious social media website. These humans were not employed to replace the ‘Artificial Intelligence’ automated moderation system the nerdocracy that runs Facebook had previously relied on, but to make the judgements ‘Artificial Intelligence’ cannot (because far from being intelligent, it is as abjectly effing stupid as the nerds that probram the algorithms. It has come to light in leaked documents obtained by The New York Times that Facebook’s human moderators are doing a lousy job, promoting fake news while censoring truthful reports, because they  have been relying on outdated, inaccurate and biased “maze of PowerPoint slides” to police global political speech, according to the trove of 1,400 internal documents inspected and reported on by The New York Times

Moderators who have worked for Facebook admit they often rely on Google Translate to read posts, and are put under pressure to achieve targets by making decisions on the acceptability of content within a matter of seconds, just as call centre customer service agents are required to clear down calls quickly, according to the report.

The guidelines for moderators, reviewed every other Tuesday morning by “several dozen Facebook employees who gather over breakfast,” according to Facebook public relations propaganda, areare filled with “numerous gaps, baises and outright errors,” according to the Times.

Moderators were once told, for example, to remove fund-raising appeals for volcano victims in Indonesia because a co-sponsor of the drive was on Facebook’s internal list of banned groups. In Myanmar, a paperwork error allowed a prominent extremist group, accused of fomenting genocide, to stay on the platform for months. In India, moderators were mistakenly told to flag for possible removal comments critical of religion. –NYT

The guidelines, set by “mostly young engineers and lawyers,” must be interpreted by Facebook’s fleet of mostly outsourced moderators which employ largely unskilled workers, “many hired out of call centers.”

(Illegal migrants working on zero hours contracts perhaps? – editor)

Moderators have expressed frustration at rules they say don’t always make sense and sometimes require them to leave up posts they fear could lead to violence. “You feel like you killed someone by not acting,” one said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he had signed a nondisclosure agreement. –NYT

According to Facebook executives, they are working diligently to rid the platform of “dangerous” content.

“It’s not our place to correct people’s speech, but we do want to enforce our community standards on our platform,” said Facebook senior News Feed engineer. “When you’re in our community, we want to make sure that we’re balancing freedom of expression and safety.”

The company’s head of global policy management, Monika Bickert, meanwhile, said that the company’s primary goal was to prevent harm – though perfection “is not possible.”

“We have billions of posts every day, we’re identifying more and more potential violations using our technical systems,” said Bickert. “At that scale, even if you’re 99 percent accurate, you’re going to have a lot of mistakes.

Indeed it is not, but can an organisations whose senior management have been only too willing to use the company’s position to promote the left wing, globalist causes they support, ever be trusted toensure balanced treatment for political and social commentary which challenges the idea and values their corporate leaders want to impose on the world?

And since Facebook’s set of rules are more or less a patchwork of Excel spreadsheets and unorganized PowerPoint presentations, there is no single master file or reference guide. ing to the Times, “Moderators must sort a post into one of three “tiers” of severity. They must bear in mind lists like the six “designated dehumanizing comparisons,” among them comparing Jews to rats.” Facebook insists the files are only for training, but moderators say they are used as day-to-day reference materials.

One document sets out several rules just to determine when a word like “martyr” or “jihad” indicates pro-terrorism speech. Another describes when discussion of a barred group should be forbidden. Words like “brother” or “comrade” probably cross the line. So do any of a dozen emojis. –NYT

“There’s a real tension here between wanting to have nuances to account for every situation, and wanting to have a set of policies we can enforce accurately and we can explain cleanly,” said Bickert, who added “We’re not drawing these lines in a vacuum.”

The Times concludes that entrusing to Facebook the task of policing of what they consider extremism or disinformation intrudes into sensitive political matters worldwide – “sometimes clumsily.”

“Facebook’s role has become so hegemonic, so monopolistic, that it has become a force unto itself,” said Balkans expert Jasmin Mujanovic. “No one entity, especially not a for-profit venture like Facebook, should have that kind of power to influence public debate and policy.

The full New York Times report can be read here.

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