As the Taliban rapidly took back control of Afghanistan this week, Facebook asserted that it would continue to ban all content affiliated with the terrorist organization. But while that may seem like a no-brainer decision, free speech expert Jillian C. York believes it could actually result in important content criticizing the Taliban to be taken down.
According to York, Facebook’s content moderation system is imperfect — to say the least — and often backfires by banning content that is critical of an outlawed subject.
“Facebook uses some combination of human moderation and machine learning technology to remove the speech of groups that run afoul of its ban on ‘dangerous organizations’ but in doing so, often removes artistic content, satire, and documentation of human rights abuses,” York wrote in her opinion piece. “It’s not hard to see how, in this current scenario, Facebook could easily end up removing critical speech against the Taliban from its platform — silencing the very people that it purports to protect.”
Of course, Facebook is right to crack down on dangerous groups like the Taliban. But it must ensure that its enforcement measures don’t end up punishing innocent users who are merely contributing to the conversation.
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