Facebook’s biased acts of censorship have been a thorn in the sides of its liberal minority and marginalized users for quite some time. In a twist of fate, Mark Zuckerberg was scrutinized by Jewish groups and anti-racism organizations for suggesting Holocaust denial should be allowed on Facebook because it could be unintentional.
Blacks, latinos and members of the LGBTQ community griped about it frequently. However, it was never confirmed until now. In an undercover investigation in the United Kingdom, a reporter from Channel 4 in England infiltrated the social media powerhouse as a Facebook moderator and found a host of problematic content that the company wouldn’t delete.
The reporter gained access as an employee of CPL Resources — a Dublin-based content moderation contractor that has worked with Facebook since 2010 — for the documentary “Inside Facebook: Secrets of the Social Network.”
The journalist had CPL Resources’ training, where new staff members are brought up to speed with Facebook’s community standards, and set to work reviewing content, including graphic violence, child abuse and hate speech.
The documentary also detailed how moderating contractors disregarded Facebook’s company rules without repercussions. In fact, he said he was also told to ignore users who looked as if they were under 13 years of age, which is the minimum age requirement to sign up for Facebook in accordance with the Child Online Protection Act, a 1998 privacy law passed in the United States designed to protect young children from exploitation and harmful and violent content on the internet.
The anonymous reporter said the company lets pages from far-right fringe groups “exceed deletion threshold,” and that those pages are “subject to different treatment in the same category as pages belonging to governments and news organizations.”
The stinging accusation undermines Facebook’s claims that it absolutely removes fake news, propaganda, hate speech and other incendiary content that may have detrimental effects on its users. Even user-reported videos and pictures were ignored.
Earlier this year, Facebook enlisted the services of civil rights leader Laura Murphy to examine civil rights issues, along with law firm Relman, Dane & Colfax. Former Sen. Jon Kyl, an Arizona Republican, examined concerns about a liberal bias on Facebook. This was clearly an attempt to mitigate further damage to its already tarnished reputation.
The move came because Facebook had to deal with a privacy scandal related to access of tens of millions of users’ data by a consulting firm affiliated with President Donald Trump. CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress on the issue in April. Facebook also has faced criticisms over a deluge of fake news and Russian election interference.
“We take these mistakes incredibly seriously and are grateful to the journalists who brought them to our attention. We have been investigating exactly what happened so we can prevent these issues from happening again,” wrote Monika Bickert,
Facebook’s vice president of global policy management, in a post on Facebook’s blog. “For example, we immediately required all trainers in Dublin to do a re-training session — and are preparing to do the same globally. We also reviewed the policy questions and enforcement actions that the reporter raised and fixed the mistakes we found.”