Now, as you may or may not know, I have a Facebook account. I’ve used it. I can’t say that I enjoy using it; Facebook and its founder–for argument’s sake we’ll refer to him by the pseudonym of Zark Fuckerberg–might claim you can sign up with your “preferred” name, but that isn’t the exact truth. What they really want is your “Real Name”, which is your given legal name. Sure, I use Facebook to pass along links and stories that may be vital, but other than that, I’m not on there all that often.
But I’ve been limiting my time now because Facebook has become quite terrible as of late. Now, the Guardian has revealed some of the documents Facebook uses to moderate their content and things can be classified as not going well. The mods on Facebook are overworked, underpaid and in one case, had their safety put at risk when their identities revealed to terrorist groups they had banned. Being a moderator with Facebook is no cakewalk.
The mods are doing their jobs. Or at the very least, they are trying to do what is right, all things considered. So are the users who report troublesome content. However, the real problem is when that content is not removed. The moderation guidelines are are vague at best. Then, there are the guidelines for which groups are protected and which are not.
Between black children, women drivers and white men, Facebook will protect the white men from hate speech. Seriously. I’m going to stop right there and let that sink in for a second.
Yeah, I do not have enough of these right now.
Facebook is protecting the wrong people. It’s almost as if Fuckerberg hates Black people or rather, the site itself does. Now, I’m caucasian but I’ve reported a shitload of troublesome content–racist, homophobic, transphobic, you name it–in the last year or so. I can count on one hand how many times things have been removed. It has to be especially egregious for the moderators to take any sort of real action. Worse? Atheist pages have been removed under false pretenses but the pages that reported them? Those are still up and running, even after being reported. I have personally reported hate pages, only to get a response in my Support Box that says no “community standards” were broken. I have reported comments that have called for people to be shot in public and been told the exact same thing by the mods.
I can’t blame the moderators at all. They are trying to do their jobs. It’s the standards that they are given, vague and up for interpretation, that are the real problems here. Because according to Facebook and its standards, people say things like that in reality and don’t follow through. So saying you’re going to “kill that guy” in a Facebook comment thread isn’t a credible threat of violence.
Remember: this is the same platform that insists its users go by their legal names. There’s no anonymity. All it takes is one disgruntled Facebook user, a simple search and that “not so credible threat of violence” suddenly becomes an assault or murder case.
The sad thing? I almost see that as an inevitability. It will take someone getting injured or killed before Facebook will do anything to curb this. By that time, Fuckerberger will have lost a pretty good sized chunk of his wealth and a lot the users will have moved on to a different platform. It’ll be far too little, far too late.
I can only hope that I’m wrong about all this.