Facebook Relies On Third Parties, Unskilled Workers To Censor Political Speech: Report
The New York Times has obtained more than 1,400 pages from Facebook’s rulebook of political speech from a Facebook employee who fears that the social media giant was exercising too much power and too many mistakes:
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…
As Facebook employees grope for the right answers, they have allowed extremist language to flourish in some countries while censoring mainstream speech in others…
The Facebook employees who meet to set the guidelines, mostly young engineers and lawyers, try to distill highly complex issues into simple yes-or-no rules. Then the company outsources much of the actual post-by-post moderation to companies that enlist largely unskilled workers, many hired out of call centers.
Those moderators, at times relying on Google Translate, have mere seconds to recall countless rules and apply them to the hundreds of posts that dash across their screens each day.
As it often does, Facebook defended its mistakes with a healthy dose of PR.
Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of global policy management, told the New York Times how FAcebook can;t keep up with uts own growth (despite making $5 billion per quarter on ads):
We have billions of posts every day, we’re identifying more and more potential violations using our technical systems. At that scale, even if you’re 99 percent accurate, you’re going to have a lot of mistakes.