Facebook catches a lot of flak for the content it chooses to censor. However, just as controversial are the posts it allows to remain. That was the case again this week when a UK reporter went undercover as a Facebook moderator and discovered that the company protects content from far-right activists using a process called “shielded review.”
According to the report, most Facebook pages are deleted if they violate five or more of the site’s guidelines. However, popular pages are protected by a separate review that elevates their cases to in-house Facebook staff instead of contractors. The undercover content moderator was even told this was because these pages “have a lot of followers so they’re generating a lot of revenue for Facebook.” Some of these pages included offensive content from Britain’s far right.
And on an unrelated but still disturbing note, the reporter was also told the company’s moderators don’t care if they discover that a user is underage.
“We have to have an admission that the person is underage,” a moderation trainer allegedly told the reporter. “If not, we just, like, pretend that we are blind and we don’t know what underage looks like.”
What’s so crazy about these revelations is not that they’re surprising; instead, it’s shocking just closely they confirm many experts’ worst fears about the company’s internal operations.