Shove It Where the Zuck Don’t Shine

This Is A Thing That Happened: Seth Andrews got a ban from Facebook for hate speech. How exactly? He quoted a hate pastor directly, the algorithm picked up on the words and he got banned. This is from Hemant Mehta AKA the Friendly Atheist:

That’s the tweet that Seth Andrews shared on The Thinking Atheist Facebook page last week, noting that Shelley has repeatedly said “homosexuals deserve to be executed.” Perhaps because the Facebook algorithm only saw those words—absent the surrounding context—that it levied a seven-day ban on Andrews. He challenged it… and it was subsequently reversed by one of their moderators.

So everything’s good, right? Well, not exactly.

And yet, as Andrews explains in the following video, even after that initial reversal, he was almost immediately issued another ban for 30 days… for the exact same post. It’s as if the algorithm had no memory of what happened the previous day.

It doesn’t. There are those who have said that once you start getting bans, Facebook pretty much just slaps a target on you and you keep getting banned. That fucking algorithm looks for shit from years ago in order to get you banned. At least two different meme pages got thirty day ban for posts they made well over two years ago and multiple different leftist pages have been unpublished for posts dating back from 2016. Hell, the goalposts on my goddamn account were moved once: it started from something I posted last November and ended with a post from May of 2020!

Andrews could soon lose all access to Facebook, through no fault of his own, all because of this egregiously wrong decision.

Welcome to the club. Have a seat. Trust me, there are plenty of booths and we’ll be getting more. Booths and guests.

The short-term solution here is obvious: Let’s hope someone who works at Facebook notices this and fixes the problem.

Oh wait, you’re serious. Let me laugh even harder.

It’s not going to happen. There are very few moderators at Facebook and the pathetically small number was trimmed back even more thanks to the pandemic; my appeal of my suspension was not even seen by human eyes. No one is going to look at this. Ever.

But the long-term solution is more pressing: There needs to be a way to distinguish actual hate speech—the sort of thing preachers like Shelley spew multiple times a week—from criticism of that very same hate speech. No one should be punished for calling out religious bigotry, and it’s incredibly hard to call out that bigotry without directly quoting the preachers.

Facebook will never change. They coddle bigots and punish anyone who might dare to stand up to those bigots. People have posted screenshots of their harassment and gotten banned for harassment, while the harasser goes free. This will never change.

As it stands, Facebook’s algorithm is stifling religious criticism by confusing it with the very hate speech its trying to eradicate. (While the site itself has plenty of problems, as Andrews notes in the video, it’s also an incredibly useful tool with which to communicate and spread ideas. So simply not using it, as some have suggested, really isn’t a helpful solution here.)

That’s a feature, not a bug. Also, you are going to have to look into alternatives for Facebook because it might be “useful” but it will not be around forever. It’s not popular among teenagers. The stock price is dropping. There’s more dissatisfaction among users than anything else, because of this exact same bullshit. People get banned for ridiculous reasons while the actual problematic users are never punished.

There are those who have accounts but will never use them. This has been building for quite some time.

It didn’t happen on purpose, I’m sure, but unless the company fixes the problem, their algorithms give too much leverage to the people spreading hate speech and not enough to those calling it out and condemning it.

Again, it’s a feature, not a bug. Zuckerberg wants clicks. He wants “meaningful social interactions” and he wants people pissed off and reacting. This shit will never be fixed, ever. Well, with one exception: the day Facebook shuts down for good.

Whose side is Facebook on?

On the side of the bigoted, cisgender, hate spewing, white, straight, conservative, christian male. Facebook is not and will never be on your side, Hemant. I learned that a very long time ago.

My account is gone. I will never get it back. I could go ahead and put together a new account but I refuse. I’m not feeding that beast anymore. No more. I’m done.

But the more Facebook does this, the more users it will piss off and the more advertising revenue it will lose. The more advertising revenue it loses, the faster it will die. That’s another grave that won’t piss on itself, but I’ll wash my hands afterwards.

About Silverwynde

I'm a Transformers fan, Pokémon player, Brewers fan and all-out general nerd. I rescue abandoned Golett, collect as many Bumblebee decoys and figures as I can find and I've attended every BotCon--official and non--since 1999. I'm also happily married to a fellow Transfan named Prime and we were both owned by a very intelligent half-Siamese cat, who crossed the Rainbow Bridge on June 16, 2018. We still miss him. But we're now the acting staff of a Maine Coon kitty named Lulu, who pretty much rules the house. Not that we're complaining about that.
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