Facebook has long struggled with controlling its content recommendation algorithm. This simple tool intended to connect users often has harmful effects, from serving up hate speech to white supremacists to bringing together radical groups abroad. And according to the rights group Global Witness, that is exactly what’s happening in the country of Myanmar. A recent report from the group found that Facebook is still inviting users to view content that promotes violence against protesters — this despite the fact that this kind of content isn’t allowed on Facebook.
For its part, Facebook says that it has proactively detected 99% of the hate speech removed from Facebook in Myanmar. That makes sense, as hate speech and misinformation isn’t actually allowed on the platform. However, the fact that it’s still flourishing shows that Facebook needs to step up its efforts to enforce its rules.
“Once again, Facebook shows that it’s good at making broad sweeping announcements and bad at actually enforcing them,” former Facebook data scientist and whistleblower Sophie Zhang said. “They’ve had years to improve their work in Myanmar but once again they are still failing.”
Facebook is a massive platform, and it will never be able to catch every instance of hateful content. However, it still needs to do a better job getting closer to that ideal.
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