Facebook, unmoderated posts in conflicting areas of the world – Wired

Photo: via Unsplash

Facebook has a lot of difficulty moderating content on its platforms in languages ​​other than English – as already reported by Wall Street Journal – and this becomes even more problematic in areas of the world affected by ** ethnic and religious conflicts that also spill online. **

According to the documents of the Facebook Papers provided by former company employee and whistleblower, Frances Haugen, to 17 international media outlets, in some of the world’s most unstable regions, terrorist content and hate speech proliferate without the social media giant being able to intervene in a way adequate. This is due to a shortage of moderators that speak the local languages and understand cultural contexts. Facebook has also failed to develop reliable artificial intelligences to detect and remove malicious content in different languages ​​and dialects.

In a 59-page memo released internally late last year, Facebook engineers gave some details of this failure. Only 6% of hate content in Arabic – the third most used on Facebook – was detected on Instagram. Throughout the Middle East, algorithms have instead caccidentally angled non-violent content 77% of the timewhile they were looking for terrorist posts.

Come he wrote Politico, “Since the 2016 US presidential election, people’s attention – and much of the company’s resources – has been focused on addressing Facebook’s growing and divisive role in American politics”, but what happens in some areas of the world on its platforms is perhaps even more troubling.

Facebook first developed a huge following in the Middle East during the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings, and users credited the platform with providing a rare opportunity for free expression and a vital source of news in a region where autocratic governments control both. But in recent years, that reputation has changed.

Dozens of journalists and Palestinian activists they have seen their accounts deleted, the Syrian civil war archives have disappeared, and a vast vocabulary of everyday words has become off-limits to Arabic speakers. Facebook has allowed and allows religious groups, warring factions and authoritarian governments like Bashar al-Assad’s in Syria to use the social network to spread violent messages e hate speech.

“I honestly think there are many lives at stake Whistleblower Haugen said of Facebook’s activities around the world. A position shared by many experts. Facebook for its part has marked many of these countries as high risk areas, or so-called Tier 1 zones, which required additional resources such as sophisticated content control algorithms and internal teams to respond to events in near real time, according to Facebook’s internal list of priority countries for 2021. In Facebook’s internal documents the company also stressed the need to “improve” the algorithms and enlist more Arab moderators from less represented countries.

Categories:   Science