Facebook’s new internal guidelines on how best to deal with issues like hate speech, racism, terrorism, pornography and so on have leaked online. With the Facebook community growing feverishly, this has also led to a spurt in instances where objectionable graphic content have got depicted unhindered.
Facebook hasn’t offered any comment on the leak but has stated their primary concern is to keep the platform safe for all its users without impinging on their right to free speech. The company has also stated they are in the process of using advanced AI-based software that would also act as moderators of all graphic content posted on the site. The said software will moderate before the content goes live even though it still is a work in progress thing.
With a billion-plus active users worldwide, the moderators no doubt have their task cut out keeping a watch on the developments. To make matters worse, they have to deal with rules such as those dealing with posts depicting sex that often are self-contradictory, complex and confusing. And it is just about ten seconds they have to arrive at a logical conclusion.
There also are rules that require the moderators to give precedence to those threats that are more direct and are backed by specific details compared to the more general ones.
However, a few rules could be enough to raise the hackles of the moderators. Take for instance videos that depict animal abuse are allowed as those are believed to raise awareness. However, child abuse videos aren’t allowed online as those are considered disturbing.
Similarly, the censor guidelines seek to allow posting of videos depicting self-harm on the ground that Facebook does not wish to be seen censoring or punishing ‘people in distress who are attempting suicide.’
What makes matters all the more complex for Facebook is the fact that content considered to be acceptable by some people could be deemed just the opposite by others. Catering to a worldwide audience using the same set of rules will no doubt lead to contentions and confusion.
Maybe the need of the hour is to segment Facebook based on the region just as the way Google operates, each governed by their own set of rules based on the local perception of what is right and wrong. That again is easier said than done.