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
    That One Guy (profile), 14 Jun 2019 @ 3:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ziiiippppp

    Eh, depends on a couple of factors.

    Pre-emptive troll baiting? Yeah, don't do that, bad enough when they show up on their own, no need to mention them before that. Comments like that I flag just the same as the troll comments, as that's just spamming the comment section in an attempt to draw in someone to fill it with rubbish.

    Beyond that... so long as people keep in mind that they're giving the trolls the very thing they want(attention), avoid sinking to the troll's level by doing nothing but slinging insults, and at least try to keep the responses productive to avoid back and forths consisting of basically 'Yes it is!'/'No it isn't!' while I consider it a waste of time and not the best use of effort everyone needs a hobby and whack-a-troll can be entertaining at times, so knock yourself out.


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