Techdirt Podcast Episode 91: Is Facebook Moderation A Necessary Evil?

from the damned-if-you-do dept

Facebook’s efforts to moderate content that appears on the social network have run into numerous problems, most recently with a famous war photo and a bunch of blog posts. Some have made absurd demands in response, such as giving old-school media editors special posting privileges, while others have objected to the idea of Facebook censoring any content whatsoever. But is that objection realistic? This week, we discuss the complicated question of Facebook moderation, and what the company’s role can and should be.

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Companies: facebook

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Comments on “Techdirt Podcast Episode 91: Is Facebook Moderation A Necessary Evil?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Flawed premise

Evil is never necessary! That being said, too many people have to directly experience evil to understand what is good because they refuse to expend the effort to think critically about things.

Case in point, the Streisand Effect. Most attempts to censor speech usually winds up giving that suppressed cause a much bigger platform and audience. Literally suppressing and hiding things is what makes it all so very attracted to the light of day!

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: Flawed premise

Most attempts to censor speech usually winds up giving that suppressed cause a much bigger platform and audience.

I hope you see the inherent flaw in that observation. Speech that gets Streisanded is by definition spread everywhere and seen widely, so of course we get the impression that this happens more often than speech which is successfully censored, which by definition we see very little of.

The truth is, Facebook successfully censors huge amounts of content — spam, infringement, and violation of terms of service and community standards — every day, and the vast majority of that content never gets any bump from the Streisand Effect.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Flawed premise

Are you sure that the flaw in observation is not your own? The post said “suppressed cause” not suppressed story. There is no doubt that censorship is successfully happening all over the place and especially at Facebook.

Every attempt by an authority to suppress a story or a voice means only one thing. Corruption. This is one of the reasons that the very first Amendment to the US Constitution is one of Freedom of Religion and Press. They are invariably the first things assaulted when a confrontation occurs and also one the most problematic things to suppress because it only breaths more life and desperation in the suppressed while causing the oppressor to ratchet down harder and harder in response until blood is shed.

Both sides experience far less blood loss when voices can be heard. It is very clear that humanity is a shit stained species because we participate readily in suppressing others with glee and vigor!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Facebook, Google, Twitter all have their thumbs on the scale;

We lose if any of these current candidates get into office, and there is certainly going to be one of them that gets in, not even the worthless and ignorant 3rd party candidates are a viable choice. Idiot Americans like you are certainly not going to be waking up any time soon according to my calculations. Every election I watch as you all vote in a demon to save you from a devil.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Facebook, Google, Twitter all have their thumbs on the scale;

Would you rather be chucked in a deep pool of water or left to fend for yourself in a forest fire?

Those are your choices, Mason.

That the third party options never garner more than 1% of the vote is the problem; people prefer to vote for Kang or Kodos because each team is afraid that the other bad guy will get in.

That some of them are frankly nuts (Prohibition party? Really?) is not an issue. The problem is that the ones who are determine to stay true to their ideals tend to form their own parties (and thereby split the vote) while those who are determined to get into office tend to join one of the Big Two. You get the odd exception but it’s odd because people fear change, they won’t get out of the box they’re accustomed to being in.

Hell, I even find it hard to throw away old clothes and shoes, it must be something like that for voters.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

I listened to this on the way in to work this morning. (It’s very convenient, as these podcasts tend to last almost exactly as long as my commute.) And I was a bit shocked by what I heard, because one thing kept going through my head: what if it were Comcast?

Take this story, keep it exactly the same as far as is possible to do so, but replace “Facebook” with “Comcast,” and Mike’s position would almost certainly have been the polar opposite of the opinions expressed here. He would have (quite reasonably!) pointed out that a content delivery platform needs to deliver the content and stay out of deciding what content is worthy of delivering and what content is not, no?

Does that strike anyone else as odd?

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It’s odd because Comcast does comms and FB is a social media network. One of FB’s jobs is to keep undesirable content from being made widely available; the undesirable censorship is most likely the result of an automated system being employed to keep up with the demands from governments and assorted pressure groups to “Get that down right now!”

Compliance with a range of industry regulations is a major part of the operation of any large business. I deal with FGas registers and TM44 survey certificates, FB deals with “How’s your CP and copyright infringement takedown effort going?”

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