Note to Facebook: I am not criticising your business so please don’t remove one of my groups 🙂 . I guess that Facebook is using algorithms built upon artificial intelligence (AI) to surf through their billions upon billions of postings, photographs and videos to weed out those that they think (correction: that the computer program thinks) are in breach of their rules. Here is an amusing development: it appears that Google AdSense have stopped putting ads on this page because of the words in the title i.e. nudity and sex (the ads came back! I wonder why?). The algorithm has detected this and decided that the page cannot present advertisements which once again highlights the inadequacies of artificial intelligence today. I am sure that Google and Facebook are desperately trying to improve their algorithms because it is impossible for people to check these posts. There are too many of them.
Facebook are really out of their depth when it comes to managing and monitoring their website because it is just too big. For years they have struggled and failed to keep off their website the bad stuff. I understand the problem and I feel sorry for them but they have created a kind of a monster which they can’t manage. They depend upon users of their website to manage it for them and they don’t want to do it. And artificial intelligence at the moment simply isn’t good enough.
In this instance The Times reports that a pensioner uploaded a video of baby owls and the video was removed for breaching sex and nudity rules. Graham Moss, 68, filmed the hatchlings at his home in Doncaster, South Yorkshire. After he uploaded the footage his account was blocked the 24 hours!
They have basically labelled me a pervert.
Sensibly, the video has been reinstated but it does highlight in stark relief the difficulties that Facebook is confronting. It extends well beyond videos of owls and animals. There is a huge discussion going on at the moment about how Facebook can prevent politicians using Facebook to present false or inflammatory information. I guess it needn’t be politicians. It can be Russian scammers trying to undermine Western economies to their advantage or any number of other nefarious goals which can be promoted on this massive social media website. The website is a massive success obviously. It is the most successful website on the planet bar Google. However, it seems that you can be too successful on the Internet. It’s a bit like a company that is not on the Internet which expands to fast. They lose control of it and end up shrinking the business at the end of the day.
The Times reports today (9 July 2020) that Facebook is failing to tackle hate speech, discrimination and misinformation, to use the language of the journalist Tom Knowles. He argues that their approach is “too reactive and piecemeal” according to an independent review.
I do understand the difficulties because Facebook wants to retain and support free speech. It is a fundamental right. But it has to be balanced and set against free speech which damages the world and sections of society. Auditors of Facebook say that they should fact-check or takedown posts by politicians which contain hate speech and discrimination.