There’s no debating it: Facebook’s content moderation policies are a source of constant controversy for the social media giant. Either the company doesn’t do enough and it’s accused of allowing offensive content to flourish, or it goes too far and is dinged for censorship. A notable example of the latter occurred this week when Facebook removed the business page of a Virginia firearms dealer.
According to owner Jonathan Hall, Facebook has repeatedly warned him about his business’s presence on the platform before finally taking it down all together. “It progressively got worse until they unpublished our page,” he said.
“It’s free speech,” he continued. “We should be able to post what we want to post. If Facebook can’t monitor it properly then we need to get someone in there that can… I feel like were being targeted for what we do. They can censor who they want to censor.”
Because it relies so much on artificial intelligence, Facebook’s content moderation system often can’t tell the difference between acceptable and unacceptable posts. And while the platform has strong rules against the sale of guns, that obviously doesn’t include advertising for a legitimate business. If nothing else, cases like this make it clear that Facebook needs to do a better job of cleaning up its content moderation decisions.
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