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Why Facebook Filtering Will Ultimately Fail

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/11/15/why-facebook-filtering-will-ultimately-fail

Timothy Karr makes an interesting set of assumptions.

Facebook could easily fix its core censorship problem: it could stop censoring its users. That might also solve some of the problems with corporate censorship of political and other expression in media, though I don’t know that Facebook sees 1st Amendment abrogation as a problem.

It might help Facebook’s problems with abuse of privacy also, but there the matter is more complicated.

Karr mentions the difficulty of a USA-based entity making censorship judgments in Bengali. That’s a good point. The grander point, though, is that Facebook executives do not have any special cultural expertise to enable them toi make such judgments for their own culture.

Facebook provides a service in a medium. Other similar entities, corporate and public, are not charged with the same supposed responsibility towards censorship. It is not the job of Ma Bell to determine what we say on the phone, nor the job of the post office to read and destroy our mail.

In practice, of course, Facebook will still sell selectively censor, sell user data, and manipulate politically related communications, as they have. From Mark Zuckerberg’s apparent point of view, none of this is a failure, and a partial censorship of hate speech makes a pretty good cover for far more interesting manipulations.

Karr’s idea of “a better platform from scratch” is wonderful. But the subtext of the article suggests that we might have disagreements about its ends–unsurprisingly, of course, but nonetheless.

This means that we ought to be talking about what we want from such a platform, from such a piece of software. I’d like to present the idea, for consideration, that we a platform that does not censor and that, as much as possible, does not track data in such a way that it can be accessed and sold later. We need a system that forgets as much as possible, perhaps after some certain relatively short period of time.

Security is problematic, of course, and it would be naive to imagine that it would be very deep. There are a problems to solve, most likely to evolve through. But a good start would be to accept that policing of “hate speech” has to come from bottom up, from the population and not its directors. Otherwise, what evolves is just a form of Newspeak.


Perhaps I’m missing something with the fb discussion, since I’ve never been on the site. Do they give out a free line of blow every time you log on? If not, what the hell is wrong with these people?
Get yourself, family and friends OFF of fb, it will then fail, problem solved.

Zuckerberg can’t police the problem because he is the problem.

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There are no regulator group who can tackle the problem of hate and fraud on Facebook. The education is in recognizing we get groomed everyday. I like the idea of a new platform.

Ain’t no amount of $ that can buy the wisdom required to push forward.

Living in Asia, my wife only uses FB to communicate with my American family, otherwise, everyone here uses LINE, a Korea based app. I don’t think Facebook has the international reach they want you to believe.

Not trying to be condescending or a smart a$$, but with all the evil fb does to it’s members, in your position (away from family), I’d stick to the phone, emails, and texts to stay In touch with family and friends. I admit, since I don’t use any social media, never heard of LINE, hope they’re not corporate evil, as fb.