Facebook loves to rely on artificial intelligence to detect and remove problematic content on its platform. The only problem is that sometimes this system bans content it shouldn’t. That’s what happened this week when Facebook banned ads for a critically acclaimed board game called “Votes for Women,” centered on the fight for women’s voting rights in the 19th century. According to the social media giant’s automated response to the game’s creator, Kevin Bertram, the ads for this innocuous game touched on “sensitive social issues” which “could influence how people vote and may impact the outcome of an election or pending legislation.”
This content takedown seems like a silly mistake, but Bertram says he has been unable to reach Facebook to talk about it.
“Facebook has, of course, ignored any requests for information — so I do not know for sure it is a human taking the ads down, but that is what appears to be happening,” Bertram said. “It is disappointing that a company that has financially benefited in the past from election shenanigans now will not allow advertising for a board game that celebrates a woman’s right to vote. It is beyond disappointing.”
Hopefully the publicity around this case will help these harmless ads be restored, but that doesn’t change the fact that this censorship shouldn’t have happened in the first place.
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