The ongoing coronavirus crisis has disrupted virtually every aspect of public life. However, the pandemic has also indirectly affected our online lives, too. According to Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the virus has impacted the social media giant’s use of human content moderators. As a result, he said, users can expect to see more mistakes than usual.
“Our effectiveness has certainly been impacted by having less human review during COVID-19, and we do unfortunately expect to make more mistakes until we’re able to ramp everything back up,” Zuckerberg said. “We’re going to keep sharing our report even if our numbers dip in some places because I believe transparency in how we’re handling the safety of our community.”
Indeed, Facebook revealed in its latest community standards enforcement report that content appeals for January through March this year are down 18 percent from October through December 2019, and down 26 percent from January through March 2019.
On the one hand, it’s encouraging that Facebook is relying more on human moderators to remove spam and offensive content. But for a company that already has a rough reputation for making censorship errors, it’s not exactly a good look to admit that a mistake-filled period of time is likely on the horizon.
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