Facebook’s censorship rules that are meant to prevent hate speech and fake news might be protecting ‘White men’ over ‘Black children’, a media report said. Facebook trains its human censors, known as content reviewers, to use secret guidelines to distinguish between hate speech and legitimate political expression and to decide whether to delete or allow posts, the report said.
Using these guidelines, the content reviewers deleted hate speech against “protected categories”, which includes “White men”, but allowed attack on “subsets” such as “Black children”, reported the ProPublica.
For example, a post calling for the slaughter of ‘radicalised’ Muslims by US Congressman Clay Higgins was not removed, whereas a post by a Michigan resident against “White men” was identified as hate speech and removed.
Unlike laws of affirmative action for minorities aimed at redressing discrimination, Facebook’s algorithm is designed to defend protected groups equally while excluding subsets of these groups, and so it fails to protect those in most need, the report said.
The rules are “incorporating this colour-blindness idea…which will protect the people who least need it and take it away from those who really need it”, Danielle Citron, a law professor at the University of Maryland was quoted as saying.
However, Facebook said that its policies are aimed at its goal of applying consistent standards worldwide, while acknowledging that “the policies do not always lead to perfect outcomes”.
“That is the reality of having policies that apply to a global community where people around the world are going to have very different ideas about what is OK to share,” said Monika Bickert, head of global policy management at Facebook.
Facebook recently pledged to nearly double its army of censors to 7,500, up from 4,500, in response to criticism of a video posting of a murder.
Their work amounts to what may well be the most far-reaching global censorship operation in history, the report stated.