Content Moderation Is Impossible: You Can't Expect Moderators To Understand Satire Or Irony

from the just-doesn't-work-that-way dept

The latest in our never ending series of posts on why content moderation at scale is impossible to do well, involves Twitter now claiming that a tweet from the account @TheTweetOfGod somehow violates its policies:

If you're unfamiliar with that particular Twitter account, it is a popular account that pretends to tweet pithy statements from "God" that attempt (often not very well, in my opinion) to be funny in a sort of ironic, satirical way. I've found it to miss a lot more than it hits, but that's only my personal opinion. Apparently, Twitter's content moderation elves had a problem with the tweet above. And it's not hard to see why. Somewhere Twitter has a set of rules that include that it's a violation of its rules to mock certain classes of people -- and that includes making fun of people for their sexual orientation, which violates Twitter's rules on "hateful conduct." And it's not difficult to see how a random content moderation employee would skim a tweet like the one flagged above, not recognize the context, the fact that it's an attempt at satire, and flag it as a problem.

Thankfully, in this case, Twitter did correct it upon appeal, but it's just another reminder that so many things tend to trip up content moderators -- especially when they have to moderate a huge amount of content -- and satire and irony are categories that frequently trip up such systems.

Filed Under: content moderation, god, irony, satire, tweet of god
Companies: twitter


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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 15 Jun 2019 @ 2:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Exactly. There's no right to use YouTube, they can kick you off for whatever reason as long as it's not discrimination against a protected class. T&Cs are just the excuse, but it's not really needed. He can get back every penny he paid to host his videos there if he wants lol. PR might mean they can't just say "too many people think you're an asshole", but if the reason's just "our support team are tired of being spammed by people who hate you", there's no reason he shouldn't be kicked off.

    The good news is that instead of just whining, there should be enough people now motivated to create a competitor to YouTube that are OK with putting up with his shit, and he can take similarly mind people with him. Let's see if these guys actually do that or if they just want to violate YouTube's freedom of association.


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