NYT: ‘Numerous gaps, biases and outright errors’ found in Facebook’s rules governing global speech

Conservative Firing Line | 12/28/2018 | Staff
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On Thursday, the New York Times — yes, THAT New York Times — said that an examination of “more than 1,400 pages” from Facebook’s rulebooks governing global speech online revealed “numerous gaps, biases and outright errors” in the way moderators determine what speech is considered appropriate for the platform.

According to the Times report, the rulebooks were provided “by an employee who said he feared that the company was exercising too much power, with too little oversight — and making too many mistakes.”

Times - Methods - Byzantine - Rules - Speech

The Times explained the methods used to create the byzantine rules it uses to censor speech around the world (Emphasis added):

EVERY OTHER TUESDAY MORNING, SEVERAL DOZEN FACEBOOK EMPLOYEES GATHER OVER BREAKFAST TO COME UP WITH THE RULES, HASHING OUT WHAT THE SITE’S TWO BILLION USERS SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO SAY. THE GUIDELINES THAT EMERGE FROM THESE MEETINGS ARE SENT OUT TO 7,500-PLUS MODERATORS AROUND THE WORLD.

CLOSELY - HELD - RULES - ARE - EXTENSIVE

THE CLOSELY HELD RULES ARE EXTENSIVE, AND THEY MAKE THE COMPANY A FAR MORE POWERFUL ARBITER OF GLOBAL SPEECH THAN HAS BEEN PUBLICLY RECOGNIZED OR ACKNOWLEDGED BY THE COMPANY ITSELF, THE NEW YORK TIMES HAS FOUND.

The Daily Caller summed it up this way:

FACEBOOK - EMPLOYEES - MANY - OF - WHOM

THE FACEBOOK EMPLOYEES, MANY OF WHOM ARE YOUNG, ATTEMPT TO DISTILL COMPLEX ISSUES INTO CONCRETE YES-OR-NO CATEGORIES. MUCH OF THE POST-BY-POST MODERATION IS OUTSOURCED TO COMPANIES THAT ENLIST UNSKILLED WORKERS, THE REPORT STATES, CITING DOCUMENTS FROM AN EMPLOYEE WHO WORRIED THE RULE BOOK IS TOO INTRUSIVE.

MODERATORS OFTEN USE GOOGLE TRANSLATOR FOR THE MIND-NUMBING WORK. THEY MUST RECALL COUNTLESS RULES AND APPLY THEM TO THE HUNDREDS OF POSTS A DAY, WITH THE CULTURAL CONTEXT LARGELY STRIPPED. THEY SUSS THROUGH EMOJIS, SMILEY FACES AND SOMETIMES INNOCUOUS COMMENTS TO DETERMINE WHAT IS DANGEROUS AND WHAT IS NOT.

EXECUTIVES - SAY - IT - ALL - PART

FACEBOOK EXECUTIVES SAY IT’S ALL PART OF THE DAILY GRINDING OF TRYING TO ENSURE A SAFE PLACE ON THE...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Conservative Firing Line
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