Friday November 15, 2019
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Facebook Says Fixing Mistakes, After Report Exposes Content Moderation Flaws

Facebook said it does have a process to allow for a second look at certain Pages, Profiles, or pieces of content to make sure it has correctly applied its policies

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Facebook
Facebook testing 'LOL' app to woo kids, experts wary. Pixabay

Facing ire over reports that it is protecting far-right activists and under-age accounts, Facebook on Wednesday said it takes the mistakes incredibly seriously and is working on to prevent these issues from happening again.

Channel 4 Dispatches — a documentary series that sent an undercover reporter to work as a content moderator in a Dublin-based Facebook contractor, showed that moderators at Facebook are preventing Pages from far-right activists from being deleted even after they violate the rules.

In a blog post, Monika Bickert, Vice President of Global Policy Management at Facebook, said the TV report on Channel 4 in the UK has raised important questions about our policies and processes, including guidance given during training sessions in Dublin.

“It’s clear that some of what is in the programme does not reflect Facebook’s policies or values and falls short of the high standards we expect.

“We take these mistakes incredibly seriously and are grateful to the journalists who brought them to our attention. We have been investigating exactly what happened so we can prevent these issues from happening again,” Bickert wrote.

The documentary also showed that Facebook moderators have turned blind eye to under-age accounts.

“Moderators are told they can only take action to close down the account of a child who clearly looks 10-year-old if the child actually admits in posts they are under-aged,” reports said, citing the documentary.

Facebook said it has immediately required all trainers in Dublin to do a re-training session — and is preparing to do the same globally.

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The documentary also showed that Facebook moderators have turned blind eye to under-age accounts. Pixabay

“We also reviewed the policy questions and enforcement actions that the reporter raised and fixed the mistakes we found,” the Facebook executive said.

In a separate letter written to Nicole Kleeman, Executive Producer at Glasgow-based Firecrest Films who raised the issues with Facebook, Bickert said a review is going on regarding training practices across Facebook contractor teams, including the Dublin-based CPL Resources, the largest moderation centre for UK content.

“In addition, in relation to the content where mistakes were clearly made, we’ve gone back an taken the correct action,” she said.

Facebook had earlier promised to double the number of people working on its safety and security teams this year to 20,000. This includes over 7,500 content reviewers.

The company said it does not allow people under 13 to have a Facebook account.

If a Facebook user is reported to us as being under 13, a reviewer will look at the content on their profile (text and photos) to try to ascertain their age.

Also Read: Facebook Joins Skill India Mission to Train Empower youth

“If they believe the person is under 13, the account will be put on a hold. This means they cannot use Facebook until they provide proof of their age. We are investigating why any reviewers or trainers at CPL would have suggested otherwise,” Bickert said.

Facebook said it does have a process to allow for a second look at certain Pages, Profiles, or pieces of content to make sure it has correctly applied its policies.

“While this process was previously referred to as ‘shield’, or shielded review, we changed the name to ‘Cross Check’ in May to more accurately reflect the process,” the company said. (IANS)

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India Second to US in Demanding Facebook User Data, Requests Up by 37%

Globally, in the first half of 2019, government requests for user data increased by 16 per cent from 110,634 to 128,617

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India, US, Facebook
The US government sent Facebook total 50,741 requests about users' data in the same period. Pixabay

The Indian government was second to the US in requesting Facebook for access to users’ data in the first six months of this year — an increase of nearly 37 per cent from the second half (July-December period) last year.India

The Indian government sent Facebook 22,684 queries about users in the above mentioned period and the social networking giant provided data in 54 per cent of the request, according to Facebook’s Transparency Report.

The US government sent Facebook total 50,741 requests about users’ data in the same period.

Globally, in the first half of 2019, government requests for user data increased by 16 per cent from 110,634 to 128,617.

India, US, Facebook
The Indian government sent Facebook 22,684 queries about users in the above mentioned period and the social networking giant provided data in 54 per cent of the request, according to Facebook’s Transparency Report. Pixabay

“Of the total volume, the US continues to submit the largest number of requests, followed by India, the UK, Germany and France,” said Chris Sonderby, VP & Deputy General Counsel, said in a statement on Thursday.

In the US, Facebook received 50,741 requests, representing an increase of 23 per cent more requests than last half, which is consistent with trends over time.

“We always scrutinise every government request we receive for account data to make sure it is legally valid. This is true no matter which government makes the request.

“If a request appears to be deficient or overly broad, we push back, and will fight in court, if necessary. We do not provide governments with a back doors’ to people’s information,” said Sonderby.

Also Read- Apple Releases Second Developer Beta of MacOS Catalina 10.15.2

During the reporting period, the volume of content restrictions based on local law decreased globally by 50 per cent from 35,972 to 17,807.

“This decrease follows an unusual spike last half in which we restricted 16,600 items in India based on a Delhi High Court order. Of the total volume, 58 per cent of restrictions originated from Pakistan and Mexico,” said Facebook.

The company also identified 67 disruptions of Facebook services in 15 countries, compared to 53 disruptions in nine countries in the second half of 2018.

“During this reporting period, we took down 3,234,393 pieces of content based on 568,836 copyright reports, 255,222 pieces of content based on 96,501 trademark reports and 821,727 pieces of content based on 101,582 counterfeit reports,” informed Facebook. (IANS)