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The Facebook Files: Leaked Guidelines to Help Moderate Hate Speech

The Facebook Files: Leaked Guidelines to Help Moderate Hate Speech

facebook thumbs down

I woke up to somewhat disturbing news this morning.  Facebook has begun to qualify what is considered offensive content.  Now, I’ve been kind of critical of Facebook lately.  But can you blame me?  There have been numerous cases where some posts have gone too far.  Including a sexual assault and the diatribe of a murder after he committed his crime.  One would assume that after these kinds of scenario’s that Facebook would get it’s act together and come up with ways to prevent these kinds of things from happening.  Well, they have, but the disturbing part is what is considered ok.

This information has been obtained by the Guardian as part of some “leak” known as the Facebook Files.  It sounds kinda cryptic, but the information is quite interesting.  Before I lean in too hard against Facebook, I should give them the benefit of the doubt.  They are, after all, trying.  But, in my opinion, they’re missing the mark in a very big way.  And because they’re using human moderators, they need to develop guidelines to help them make proper decisions.  Human moderators are likely better than machine moderators as they would be able to pick up on wording that might otherwise go unnoticed.

These guidelines define things like revenge porn.  Something that the moderators see on a daily basis.  So of course, this kind of thing needs to be defined.  Why?  Because a blanket statement like – no nudity – limits certain types of images being shown.… Read the rest

Facebook Removes Images Citing Hate Speech. Do you Agree with the method?

Facebook Removes Images Citing Hate Speech. Do you Agree with the method?

garbage can

I read an interesting article today, about Facebook content and it lead me to think about censorship.  Or at least what we think is ok to say in society.  What are your limits when it comes to posting on social media?  Do you encourage your followers or friends to comment on your posts?  Or do you even care?  Or are you like me, and you just fly under the radar?  Recently, an American woman posted an image on her Facebook account that said “Men are Trash”.  I’m not going to get into the specifics of the message just yet, but Facebook removed the content.  Deeming it to be in contravention of their own policies.  Which leads me to wonder what one can and cannot say on social media?

Not only did Facebook remove the content, they have qualified it as hate speech.  Hate speech!?  Are they for real?  I am not saying that I agree with that statement.  For one, its extremely stereotypical, but at the same time, it’s an opinion.  And perhaps one that is coming from some experience.  I have met many men who I would deem “trash”, so am I not allowed to say that on social media?  Is it the generalization that determines it’s hate speech?  If I wrote “Bob is Trash”, would that be ok?  (Note, I don’t know any one named Bob)  I guess I’m just trying to understand what the issue is.

Again, I don’t agree with the statement myself.  … Read the rest

Are Facebook & Advertisers working on Targeting Vulnerable Teens?

Are Facebook & Advertisers working on Targeting Vulnerable Teens?

depression

If the rumours are true, then Facebook has to answer a lot of questions.  Facebook has allegedly been letting advertisers target vulnerable teens.  Which is solely based on their emotional state.  My assumption is that advertisers are looking at posts, and targeting ones that are emotional.  Perhaps the more emotional the better?  From there, they are taking that information and posting ads on their Facebook page in order to sell their product.  How horrible is that?  I’m going to look at this from the perspective of when I get emotional.  Which might be more often than you think.  But I am typically extremely low.  So I wonder what the advertisers are targeting specifically?

In my case, being emotional means I am vulnerable.  If I see a sad commercial on TV, it’s going to make me cry.  Which makes what Facebook is doing kind of appalling.  Well, they’re denying that this happens.  I wonder if it goes something like this:  someone sets their status to “feeling fat today”, and then the advertisers, through artificial intelligence is able to know who’s pages that kind of information is coming from.  And then they are able to advertise weight loss products on that page.  As an example.  There are many other emotions that one might have, but I think that’s a fair one.  Especially for women, and maybe even more true for young women.  Honestly, I feel like this is horrible.  And I feel bad for the people being targeted.… Read the rest

Here’s What Facebook Unveiled During Yesterday’s F8 Conference

Here’s What Facebook Unveiled During Yesterday’s F8 Conference

 

facebook f8 keynote

There was a lot of information shared at the Facebook F8 Conference yesterday.  And I mean a lot.  It felt like Zuckerberg and his friends were just dropping bombs of information.  First though, let’s talk about the Augmented Reality feature that he has brought to Facebook.  According to Zuckerberg, sharing images and videos with our friends and family has become more central than texting.  So they’ve enhanced what you can do with your camera.

First up, adding basic effects.  Which sounds similar to other platforms we have seen, but what is interesting and unique about this is that you can add effects that are relevant to your current location.  On one hand this is really cool.  But on the other hand – how important are these effects to you?  And does it really matter what your location is?  Another feature will allow you to essentially add “stickers” to your image.  But unlike any other platform, the stickers appear in 3D and can be animated if you want.  Further to that, you can take a 2D image and add 3D depth to it.  The example that Zuckerberg uses is taking an image with a couple of chairs and filling the room with skittles.  It is actually kind of neat, but is a bit Photoshop-y in my opinion.

That being said, it is much easier to achieve than if you were to use Photoshop.  Taking far less time and effort to achieve the same result.  … Read the rest

In Light of Recent Events, Should Facebook Live Shut Down or should we do a better job of reporting?

In Light of Recent Events, Should Facebook Live Shut Down or should we do a better job of reporting?

Facebook has done it again.  I’m hesitant to put the blame on Facebook completely, but I don’t know what else to say.  It took Facebook almost 3 hours (some reports say only 2) to take down a horrific video of a person being murdered in Cleveland.  Now I’m not blaming Facebook for the murder itself, obviously.  But they need to take some responsibility for the posting of the video.  And this isn’t the first time this has happened.  Several weeks ago, someone used Facebook Live to broadcast a sexual assault.  How is this ok?  And why isn’t it happening on other platforms, such as Instagram or Snapchat?  While I can’t speak to the other platforms, it does make you wonder why this is happening on Facebook alone.

I don’t want to get into too many details of the Cleveland story, or even the sexual assault.  Both were horrific, and the crimes themselves shouldn’t have happened.  But what did Facebook do about them?  They did respond to both, but it seemed to have taken them some time to get there.  Which leads me to believe that there aren’t any safeguards in place to limit these kinds of incidents.  But can they put something in place?  It is rumoured that Facebook is looking into the ability to use Artificial Intelligence to understand what is in a video before it’s posted.  But is that enough?  And will it really even work?  I’m not discrediting the technology, as I think that the capabilities are there.  … Read the rest

What to Expect from the Facebook F8 Conference This Week

What to Expect from the Facebook F8 Conference This Week

Facebook F8 Conference

What can you expect from this year’s F8 conference?  Considering it’s Facebook, the possibilities are endless.  Aren’t they?  It seems that they have their hands in all of the pots.  Or maybe that’s just me.  But it appears that they have gone from being a social network, to trying to be everything you could ever want in a platform.  Which I’ve written about a few times over the last several days, and I think its relevant in this case as well.  Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t new.  This has been happening for several years, but it makes you wonder what Facebook is, and what the plans are for the future.

Given today’s political climate, it’s expected that we will start to see Facebook attempting to put a stop to some of the less appealing aspects of the platform.  The spreading of fake news, for example.  It seemed that many of the alternative facts that we saw during the 2016 Presidential election spread through Facebook.  Now one might argue that it’s not their problem.  They are merely the information delivery system, but they themselves do not own the information or take any responsibility for disseminating it.  And that’s a valid point, but how do you stop the spread of fake news?  By not supporting a system that allows it to happen.  Again, I’m not blaming Facebook by any stretch, but I think it’s their responsibility to figure out a way to stop this.  … Read the rest

Silicon Valley is Lobbying the Government to Keep Net Neutrality

Silicon Valley is Lobbying the Government to Keep Net Neutrality

don't block my net

There is movement afoot by the current Administration to weaken rules around net neutrality.  And the large web companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter are lobbying the government to not let that happen.  What’s the big deal, you ask?  Well… if you read between the “government speak” lines, it translates into the possibility of you paying more to access the internet.  Let me take a step back and explain what net neutrality is.  In general, the regulations stipulate that all data should be treated equal.  Meaning, if you are streaming a movie on Netflix, that data is the “same” as the data used to download a song from iTunes.

That definition in itself might be a little vague, so let me put it in these terms.  If there are no rules around net neutrality, Internet Service Providers (like Verizon and Comcast) could charge you more to stream that movie, than it does to download a song.  Net neutrality puts regulations in place so companies can’t do that.  As an example – right now you might pay $50 a month and you get unlimited bandwidth at a specific speed.  Without net neutrality, you might pay $50 a month to watch Netflix, and $10 a month to download music.  Now, this is extremely simplistic and I’m not sure what the rules would look like, but you can see why this might be an issue.  Right?

Further, you could see stipulations being placed in other areas.  … Read the rest