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Facebook Endless Battle to Moderate its Content

Facebook users publish 100,000 million daily posts worldwide. There is everything imaginable: sincere congratulations, false account insults, useful announcements, shocking news, disgusting videos or covert advertising.
Almost daily a controversy emerges linked to content that has occurred on at least Facebook and the company must respond with some reaction. Only this week the two fattest have been the campaign of Michael Bloomberg in the Democratic primary and the false accounts linked to FC Barcelona. Bloomberg pays $ 2,500 a month to 500 anonymous employees who speak well of him: is that political advertising? He also hires influencers to make funny posts on Instagram, owned by Facebook, to talk: should these pieces be in the ad transparency file?
Barça allegedly hired a company to manage several accounts where campaigning was carried out in favor of the president, Josep Maria Bartomeu. It is not clear that it is true, but why Facebook users should not know who pays for the information they see, if someone pays for it. They are new communication problems.
This week, prominent Facebook members have come to Europe to try to explain why they need guides from governments to moderate their content. The founder, Mark Zuckerberg, was in Brussels. Last Sunday he published an article in the Financial Times entitled The big techs need more regulation .
In Brussels, the response was rather cold: "It is not we who must adapt to these companies, but they to us," said Thierry Breton, commissioner in charge of data strategy.
On Monday, the company published a white paper with a proposal to regulate online content, promoted by Monika Bickert, vice president of Content Policy. Bickert spoke with EL PAÍS by video conference from Paris, from where he managed other interviews with European media.
Bickert does not see the coldness of the European Commission as a bad thing, for now: "People in Brussels say they want to talk more. It's great. I think the consultations are productive," he says. The regulation will come, but it will take months.
Facebook is definitely a new space. It does not fit into any pre-existing category. "
Logically, Facebook proposes measures on content management that is already largely compliant: the supervision of content policies by an external body, which Facebook is about to create; the publication of its norms and the transparency with the figures of everything removed, which Facebook includes in its two annual reports, or the achievement of minimum thresholds for the elimination of content, be it 99% of the apology of terrorism or 90% of the hate speech, which Facebook already achieves mostly with technology, without human participation.
Another advantage of Facebook is that the regulation will be so complex to assume that it will practically leave out all the competition. A social network aspiring to the throne of Facebook will not be able to bear the costs of complying with hard requests. Although the European Commission takes into account the danger of monopoly, it will be difficult to legislate without anchoring Facebook's domain.
A conversation with Bickert implies admitting defeat in advance. Facebook content management is a hot potato of such size that it has no problem admitting time and again that they must do more and change topics to prove that everything is fatal.
Why do Facebook users have to cope with undercover advertising like Barça or Bloomberg? "One thing happens when people start thinking about these things that focus on one, whatever, and say that we need companies to do this, that or that and that jeopardizes negative consequences for other areas because everything is intertwined. "says Bickert.

Facebook also insists that it is something new. It is not a telecommunications company, which is oblivious to what runs along its lines. Nor is it a means of communication, which is responsible for its content. "It's definitely a new space. It doesn't fit into any pre-existing category, nor will it," he says. But their algorithms define what each user sees. And rewards the most viral content or that takes the user to spend more time on the platform. That is, Facebook intervenes managing the order of appearance of those 100,000 million daily posts. Visit our main blog for more content.
Will you explain better what you prioritize? Bickert remembers that you can see that in each post they teach their interactions, although Facebook also remembers there that there are many more reasons to upload or download a post on each page. The vice president of the Transparency Commission, Vera Jourova, demanded more from the network: "I want companies to make an extra effort to defend our democracies," he said. "This will require looking at transparency and control over algorithms to prevent decisions from being taken in black boxes and in the ways in which they moderate the content. Facebook cannot take away all its responsibility," he added.
After Facebook's conversation with THE COUNTRY, the Washington Post published a report on how the network had taken conservative positions in the United States very much for fear of political reactions, especially that of President Trump. Facebook is allowed in such cases to decide what happens on its platform without further ado. It is hard to imagine how regulation will change that in a sensible way.
Facebook will continue to be a private company that will manage its problems with the darkness it deems necessary. Nudes are theoretically a simpler policy than politics but it is also involved in controversy. This is explained by Bickert: "We talk to groups that have a very strong opinion in one sense," he says, referring to conservative or religious groups. "And we talk to others, like artists, who have a very strong feeling in another direction, and we will talk to journalists who have the ability to get attention. So there are many conflicting interests," he explains.
And he adds: "Regulation will help us weigh this issue." How will it help? It does not rule out that it is national legislation: "If we are realistic, the supervisory committee is not the same as rules for Spaniards by Spaniards. What that committee will do will be to supervise our decision making. But we believe there is room for an approach to emerge of the Spanish Government that has been chosen by the Spanish people. "
From the moment a government asks Facebook to comply with some laws that fit its region, the responsibility of the network decreases. "We do not make the posts, but in history, if you have a service and people like the content, then they will use it. We have the commercial interest of making sure that we are right with the decisions. But we believe that the government should have a voice in it, "he adds. And stop just self-regulation. Basically, the regulation will end up, Facebook hopes, for the benefit of its commercial interests.



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My Hack Stuff: Facebook Endless Battle to Moderate its Content
Facebook Endless Battle to Moderate its Content
Facebook users publish 100,000 million daily posts worldwide. There is everything imaginable: sincere congratulations
My Hack Stuff
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