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
    btr1701 (profile), 18 Jun 2019 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There's no right to use YouTube

    I never claimed there was. YouTube is, however, a business and it's perfectly legitimate and acceptable to point out when they're being asshats to their customers and/or fail to apply the rules they themselves have established in a constituent manner.

    When a restaurant gives a diner shitty service and the customer complains about it on Yelp or somewhere like that, no one says to the customer, "Well, there's no right to eat at that diner so you shouldn't bitch about it." But for some reason when it comes to social media platforms, the fact that you don't have a right to use them means any complaints you have about how they treat you and others are somehow inappropriate.


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