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  • Geebo 10:14 am on December 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , hate speech,   

    Are Facebook employees looking to jump ship? Also, hate speech is still a problem for the platform. 

    Are Facebook employees looking to jump ship? Also, hate speech still a problem for the platform.

    For several years, Facebook was considered the place to work in Silicon Valley. Many considered it to be the holy grail of employment with Facebook even being ranked the best place to work in America by employer review site Glassdoor.com. Facebook even touted this fact themselves in a corporate video where they almost break their arm patting themselves on the back.

    However, the ranking and the video all took place before Facebook started to be embroiled in the myriad of scandals that have shaken the foundations at the Menlo Park headquarters. According to CNBC, a number of current Facebook employees have been reaching out to former colleagues supposedly looking for new employment opportunities. That’s not unusual for many companies but former Facebook employees have said they’ve seen a sharp increase recently in current Facebook employees looking to leave the company. One of the problems facing current Facebook employees is that Facebook holds a lot of sway in Silicon Valley and can basically determine your future employment opportunities. Again, according to CNBC, if you leave Facebook in the ‘wrong’ way, you can be labeled as “non-regrettable”. Not only does this status mean you could never work for Facebook again, but it could also keep you out of many other positions in the tech industry.

    To make matters worse for Facebook, The Daily Beast has published a report where they documented a deluge of posts that could be considered hate speech by most rational people, yet Facebook failed to do anything about these posts until The Daily Beast pointed them out to Facebook. The majority of these posts were calling for violence against immigrants. Even though The Daily Beast reported many of these posts to Facebook, the social network failed to remove all of them saying that some of the calls for violence didn’t violate their nebulous community standards. Again, this lends credence to the theory that Facebook wants to keep as many users engaged as possible even if it’s through inflammatory content. Facebook’s so-called commitment to stopping hate speech seems little more than lip service to anyone who actually tried to do something about it. Any private company, and by private we mean that it’s not a government-run institution, that not only allows but encourages their platform to be used for hate cannot have its users best interest at heart.

  • Geebo 10:30 am on November 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cameroon, , hate speech,   

    The ghosts of Myanmar haunt Facebook in other countries 

    The ghosts of Myanmar haunt Facebook in other countries

    With all eyes focused on the US midterm election, Facebook announced in the run-up that they had removed several foreign accounts that were coordinating some kind of inauthentic behavior. What was lost in the headlines is that around the same time, Facebook has admitted to their part in the ongoing ethnic conflict in Myanmar. As has been posted on this blog in the past, the Buddhist majority in Myanmar has used Facebook to not only spread misinformation and hate speech about the Muslim Rohingya minority but have also used Facebook to organize violent attacks against the Rohingya.

    Outside of the announcement of Facebook removing accounts that may have tried to interfere with the US election, Facebook also announced that they admit that their platform was used an “enabling environment” to which ethnic cleansing has proliferated in Myanmar. This was after Facebook had commissioned an independent study to review their role in the continuing Burmese conflict. However, any promise of resolution on Facebook’s side has been vague at best with Facebook basically promising to do better in the future. However, before they can correct any issues in Myanmar, Facebook is being used in another country’s ongoing conflict.

    The African nation of Cameroon is on the verge of a civil war between the French-speaking majority and English-speaking separatists. There are no ‘good guys’ in this fight as both sides have been accused of atrocities against the other. Another thing that both sides of the conflict have in common is that they both use Facebook to discord and misinformation. In one of the more recent incidents, the French-speaking east spread a video of a horror movie on Facebook and claimed it was evidence of cannibalism in the English-speaking east. Even a high-ranking government official claimed this was evidence of atrocities committed by the separatists before the video was debunked. Facebook admitted that there was more to do in Africa but Facebook does not have a team in place in Cameroon but rather handles African content from the US and the UK. This sounds vaguely reminiscent of the crisis in Myanmar as Facebook previously only had a handful of employees that could read Burmese.

    Facebook is losing the global war against hate and has no real-world solutions in place to stop it. This is the problem when one platform dominates the market and tries to be all things to all people. Some of the people are hate-filled monsters with a global platform.

  • Geebo 10:00 am on November 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , hate speech, The Intercept   

    Facebook apologizes for hate speech ad targeting 

    Facebook apologizes for hate speech ad targeting

    why is it that Facebook can’t seem to go at least a week without having to apologize for something. If it’s not massive data breaches and hacks, it’s interference from foreign agitators. One has to wonder if there is a Facebook employee whose official title is Executive President In Charge of Public Apologies. Then again, the way Facebook has been going lately they may need an entire department for that. This week is no different as once again Facebook finds themselves having to apologize for something that had little to no oversight.

    Last week I posted about how news outlets VICE and Business Insider were able to buy phony Facebook ads claiming to be from US Senators and Cambridge Analytica. This week is no different as over the weekend Facebook apologized for yet another advertising faux pas. Another news outlet called The Intercept was able to purchase an ad on Facebook that could be targeted at people who have anti-Semitic views. By using the term anti-Semitic I’m being rather generous as the ads could be targeted using certain phrases that decorum dictates I won’t use here. Facebook blamed the ad category on Facebook’s advertising algorithm for creating the offensive category, however, The Intercept claims that the ad had to be approved by a human moderator. The Intercept placed this ad in order to show just how easy it is for hate groups to be able to promote their vile messages on the platform.

    This isn’t the first time Facebook has been caught allegedly coddling extremist hate groups as Motherboard discovered back in September that ads for white supremacy are not allowed on Facebook while posts that advocate white separatism and white nationalism are allowed. These controversies are just symptoms of much larger and more disturbing problems. Either Facebook’s own platform is grown so large it’s out of their control or Facebook courts controversy in order to keep it’s shrinking userbase engaged. Neither problem is better than the other but both show that Facebook wields more power in our society than they’re capable of handling.

  • Geebo 9:10 am on September 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , hate speech   

    Facebook blames failure to stop hate speech on ‘glitch’ 

    Facebook blames failure to stop hate speech on 'glitch'

    Once again, Facebook finds itself in the middle of a PR nightmare when it comes to hate speech. No, I’m not talking about John Oliver’s scathing critique of Facebook (NSFW) when it comes to the ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, although he was spot on. No, today I’m speaking about something that hits much closer to home.

    BBC News has published a report that alleges Facebook is mostly paying lip service when it comes to the removal of hate speech on its platform. The BBC found that when hate speech was posted in a group that was dedicated to “Making America Great Again” and that hate speech was reported, Facebook was telling the person who flagged the content that it had been removed. However, the BBC’s investigation showed that the content remained. A spokesperson for Facebook said that there is a ‘glitch’ in their reporting system and they are “looking into it”, which seems to be a typical response for Facebook hoping that things like this just blow over.

    Once again, this is nothing new for Facebook. It has basically become the graffiti-strewn public bathroom wall of the world. With its userbase stagnating, Facebook is looking for any way to keep its users engaged on the platform which includes hate speech. We can’t realistically expect Facebook to do anything about the hate-fueled nonsense that consistently pollutes our news feeds. What should be done is that Facebook should be left to the hate mongers while the rest of us log off of the toxic platform.

  • Geebo 9:01 am on September 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , hate speech, , white supremacy   

    Is Facebook exhibiting shades of gray when it comes to white supremacy? 

    Is Facebook exhibiting shades of gray when it comes to white supremacy?

    When I first read Motherboard’s expose on Facebook’s policy regarding white nationalism I almost literally raised my palm to my face. Facebook’s current and constant PR disasters remind me of an episode of The Simpsons where erstwhile villain Sideshow Bob keeps walking into a rake no matter which way he turns.

    In this latest controversy, Motherboard, the tech arm of Vice News, obtained allegedly leaked documents from Facebook that determines which content is allowed to remain on their platform when it comes to the white supremacy movement that’s been emboldened in our country since a certain official was elected to office. According to Motherboard, Facebook tells its moderators that white supremacy is not allowed on Facebook, however, posts that advocate white separatism and white nationalism are allowed. While those among the goose-stepping set may argue that those are three different philosophies, they’re all cut from the same cloth. A cloth I might add that’s fashioned into a pointy hat with two eye holes.

    After Motherboard brought their findings to Facebook, the social media giant said they were going to review their policies regarding this kind of content in the future. However, the question needs to be asked, why were these kind of semantics allowed to happen in the first place. In my opinion is all goes back to the theory that Facebook thrives on this kind of controversy on their site as it is said to keep Facebook users engaged in their platform. There have been too many examples lately of Facebook harboring hate speech in order to maintain their userbase numbers. Not just in the US but across the world. Facebook has declined from a place where people kept in touch with old friends to become a global hate machine and Facebook likes it that way.

  • Geebo 9:18 am on August 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , hate speech   

    Facebook hate speech continues to spread across the world 

    Facebook hate speech continues to spread across the world

    Previously, I’ve posted about how unfettered hate speech on Facebook has led from everything to ethnic cleansing, to lynch mobs and refugee persecution from Myanmar to Germany. Now imagine you open Facebook in your browser today and you read about how a group of ‘patriots’ wants to go all vigilante on an entire ethnicity just because a few people of that ethnicity have committed a crime. If you were in America you may think we’ve somehow traveled back in time to the Jim Crow-era South, but in Australia, that’s happening right now in the city of Melbourne, where many white citizens, politicians and some of the media are blaming on the Sudanese community.

    In America, we tend to have a very narrow view of the rest of the world as we tend to be a very insular country. This results in sometimes viewing countries like Myanmar as third-world countries and that they’re problems don’t affect us. However, we’re now talking about Australia. While they may be on the other side of the globe, they are one of the most prosperous countries in the world in both finance and freedoms. The ignorant hate speech in Australia calling for violence against the Sudanese is just a small example of what could happen here in the U.S. if we’re not careful.

    As The Guardian points out, Facebook has no real incentive to try to curb hate speech on its platform. If it were to do so, it would not only cut into the company’s growth but its profits as well. Just look at the situation in Myanmar for example, Facebook wouldn’t even lift a finger to curb hate speech against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar until the United Nations accused Myanmar’s leadership of allegedly committing genocide.

    If hate speech is to be curbed on Facebook it needs to be done by us, its users. The best way to do that would be to abandon the platform since it has become a haven for toxic behavior. If Facebook can’t control the power it’s unleashed on the world then we have to take back the power for ourselves by making Facebook a footnote in online history, much like Facebook did to MySpace.

  • Geebo 10:15 am on August 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , hate speech,   

    New issues show Facebook’s loss of control 

    New issues show Facebook's loss of control

    Facebook has exploded into the news this week with a number of issues that show how problematic the popular platform has become. The first issue for Facebook was when they announced the deletion of a number of profiles and pages that were from Russia and Iran designed to spread false and inflammatory information into the US and other Western countries. Facebook says they deleted 652 pages, groups, and accounts. While it’s commendable that Facebook removed these accounts, this is only a symptom in a larger problem of continuous foreign influence in Western Democracy.

    Secondly, Facebook announced that, in a move similar to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, four million users may have had their personal data compromised. Facebook has banned an app called MyPersonality, a personality quiz as you can probably surmise. Even though four million users is a drop in the bucket of Facebook’s billions of users worldwide, that’s still a significant number of users whose personal information may have been exposed. While it’s an improvement over the 87 million accounts exposed in the Cambridge Analytica kerfuffle, Facebook seems like it’s still leaking like a sieve with our information.

    Lastly, and probably the most damning, the New York Times published an expose on a study that has linked Facebook use to anti-refugee violence in Germany. While the study doesn’t blame Facebook per se, it does allege that Facebook use paired with engagement into hate-filled rhetoric has resulted in a rise in hate-related violence. What concerns me most about this study is how much Facebook hate-crimes based on ethnicity or religion are coming closer and closer to the US. In today’s charged political climate, how long will it be before Facebook lynch mobs finally leave their keyboards and start taking to the streets?

    Facebook has become a virus that has escaped the lab and is creeping through the world’s population and by continuing to rely so heavily on it we’re willingly ignoring the cure.

  • Geebo 10:07 am on February 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Factmata, , hate speech,   

    Does craigslist’s founder really want to stop hate speech? 

    Does craigslist's founder really want to stop hate speech?

    (Disclaimer: This post will be discussing frank topics that may be disturbing to some readers)

    It was announced recently that a number of tech luminaries would be investing in a start-up called Factmata. Factmata’s purpose is to use artificial intelligence (A.I.) in order to “help social media companies, publishers and advertising networks weed out fake news, propaganda, clickbait, online bullying and hate speech.” Factmata’s founders were so confident in their product that they e-mailed billionaire investor Mark Cuban out of the blue and he liked it so much he was an initial investor in the start-up.

    One of the supposed tech heavyweights investing in the latest round of Factmata’s funding is craigslist founder Craig Newmark. We find this more than ironic as Newmark’s record on stopping hate speech and online harassment is laughable at best. If it’s hate speech you’re looking for, you can look no further than the rants & raves section from craigslist’s own beloved San Francisco Bay Area. On the off-chance that racist diatribe is flagged we’ve provided a screen shot below.

    Click to enlarge

    As far as online harassment goes, craigslist has long been wielded as a weapon by petty individuals looking to get revenge on unsuspecting victims including ads soliciting the rape of former romantic partners. Sadly, that’s not the only case of rape by proxy attempted on craigslist.

    That’s not even taking into account the number of child predators that roam throughout craigslist with ads so blatant you might wonder how they were allowed on craigslist to begin with. Here’s just a sample.

    Virgin? Would you like to lose it (M4W)” and “Hello HS and Virgin Girls.”

    “mothers who were looking for a guy to teach their daughter about the joys of sex.”

    “a little girl to play with for the night”

    Craigslist still relies on their so-called ‘community policing’ to flag such ads, but when your ads are being posted and read by sexual predators, then no one is going to flag any ad. This is the textbook definition of letting the inmates run the asylum. So you’ll have to excuse us if we’re just a little more than skeptical about Craig Newmark’s commitment to fighting hate speech and harassment.

    Factmata could in fact end up being a great tool to curb the rising tide of hate speech and online harassment, but when one of your major investors cares little about fighting those problems on his own website it severely hurts Factmata’s credibility.

  • Geebo 9:02 am on August 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Charlottesville, , hate speech   

    Craigslist creates safe space for hate 

    Craigslist creates safe space for hate

    As you probably know, tragedy struck the city of Charlottesville, Virginia, this past weekend when a white supremacist protest descended on the college town. The so-called ‘alt-right’ was there to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. This prompted counter-protesters to show up in support of the statue’s removal. Unfortunately, the protest turned violent when 20-year-old alleged Nazi sympathizer James Alex Fields Jr. reportedly plowed his car into a group of counter-protesters. He is said to have injured 19 people and killed 33-year-old Heather Heyer.

    In the wake of this tragedy, a white nationalist website made a post making light of Ms. Heyer’s death, to put it politely. Because of that, domain registrar GoDaddy told the website they have 24 hours to remove the domain from their service. The website then registered their domain name with Google who rejected the request for similar reasons. Many on the side of the ‘alt-right’ are claiming this is censorship, however, both GoDaddy and Google are well within their rights not to do business with hate groups. Rather than censorship, this is merely a case of content moderation. These businesses have terms of service which limit what content can be used with their platforms as most online businesses do.

    One website that doesn’t seem to mind the recent proliferation of hate speech is craigslist. If you were to go to the Charlottesville craigslist forum, it wouldn’t take long before you were able to not only find hate speech but tasteless jokes made at the expense of a homicide victim. We’re not saying craigslist are supporters of hate speech, however, it goes a long way in showing how unwilling they are to moderate the content on their site. Whether it be ads for obvious scams or illegal materials or the disparagement of a woman murdered in a hate crime, craigslist just doesn’t care.

  • Geebo 11:17 am on March 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: hate speech, ,   

    YouTube finds itself fighting controversy on two fronts 

    YouTube finds itself fighting controversy on two fronts

    When you have a virtual monopoly on user-generated video content like YouTube does, it’s difficult to please everyone all the time.Recently, YouTube found itself at odds with two groups that are very important to them, content creators and advertisers.

    The first controversy stems from the fact that some major advertisers didn’t like have their ads played before, or displayed next to videos that promote hate speech. While YouTube’s parent company, Google, has promised advertisers greater tools to limit where their ads are displayed, a few major advertisers have already pulled their ad dollars from the video platform.

    In the second controversy, many of YouTube’s LGBTQ content creators found their videos being restricted and filtered out as not being family friendly even though no explicit subjects were being discussed. In a statement YouTube said that it was due to a glitch in a parental control mode that it added to the service in 2010 and promised to do better. However, it seems like the damage had already been done when it appeared that YouTube was targeting such a specific part of its user community.

    While no company is perfect, both of these controversies show that Google still hasn’t ironed out all the bugs in YouTube even after having purchased it over a decade ago. With the cracks in YouTube’s armor that its shown over the years it’s surprising that a large competitor, for example Facebook, hasn’t tried launching its own video service to try to pull away creators from YouTube. Maybe that time is now, or at least soon.

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