Facebook, we need to have a chat

Time for a brief follow up to Misbehaving? This time it’s Facebook on the naughty step.

You may have heard about the evidence given by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen who has been spilling the beans about what the social media monolith gets up to – apart from making a ton of money. As usual, the excellent Register is a fine source to explain what’s going on.  In this article it gives us “The five nastiest bits from recent leaks”. Facebook:

Knows that its algorithms lead users to extreme content and that it employs too few staff or contractors to curb such content, especially in languages other than English. Content glorifying violence and hate therefore spreads on Facebook – which really should know better by now after the The New York Times in 2018 reported that Myanmar’s military used Facebook to spread racist propaganda that led to mass violence against minority groups;

Enforces its rules selectively, allowing certain celebrities and websites to get away with behavior that would get others kicked off the platform. Inconsistent enforcement means users don’t get the protection from harmful content Facebook has so often promised, implying that it prioritises finding eyeballs for ads ahead of user safety;

Planned a special version of Instagram targeting teenagers, but cancelled it after Haugen revealed the site’s effects on some users – up to three per cent of teenage girls experience depression or anxiety, or self-harm, as a result of using the service;

Can’t accurately assess user numbers and may be missing users with multiple accounts. The Social Network™ may therefore have misrepresented its reach to advertisers, or made its advertising look more super-targeted than it really is – or both;

Just isn’t very good at spotting the kind of content it says has no place on its platform – like human trafficking – yes, that means selling human beings on Facebook. At one point Apple was so upset by the prevalence of Facebook posts of this sort it threatened to banish Zuckerberg’s software from the App Store.

That’s quite a catalog of misbehavior, to put it politely. It does seem that the company is out of control and the result causes serious damage to our society. Why is it allowed to continue?

I use Facebook. It’s a way of being kept up to date with family and friends from all over the world, and being a part of communities with common interests. If I were to protest its activities by deleting my account, that would have no effect. Maybe I should do it anyway as a matter of principle. But I cannot help feeling that it’s somebody else’s responsibility to sort out. But whose?

A quiz about Facebook’s community standards.

OK, here’s your quiz; it’s just one question, and it is multiple choice. Are you ready? Here we go:

Is the blood libel against Jews, a violation of Facebook’s community standards?

Possible answers:

A: What community standards?

B: Yes.

C: No.

D: Depends who is asking.

E: Depends who at Facebook is investigating.

F: Depends how much media attention the complaint gets.

What is YOUR answer?

Made a choice? Want to know the correct answer?

The correct answer is: C…

Don’t believe me? See here:

Facebook investigates, decides blood libel does not violate community standards

Whatever the limits to free speech might be, you can be assured, if not exactly comforted, that Facebook is at the sharp end, ensuring Jew hatred can continue.

Facebook has no body and soul

Advocate Guy Ophir has come up with an interesting tactic in the legal battle he is conducting against Facebook for certain clients.

From Globes:

Facebook Israel CEO asks court to gag lawyer

Yes, you read that correctly. Curious? Here’s more:

Facebook Israel CEO Adi Soffer-Teeni today filed a lawsuit in the Tel Aviv District Court asking for a restraining order barring Adv. Guy Ophir “from revealing to the public every personal particular relating to the claimant without her consent or permission, including the publication of information about the claimant’s ID, private address, home telephone number, and any other information possessed by the respondent.”

Soffer-Teeni’s petition follows a demand by Ophir, who petitioned Facebook a week ago, protesting the absence of a proper response to an urgent and immediate request.

In his letter, Ophir asserted that Facebook was refraining from publishing ways to contact the company on the Internet, thereby preventing him from making contact with the company for the purpose of urgent and immediate treatment in various cases. Ophir has represented several clients in cases of Facebook bullying.

“As a remedy for the behavior of Facebook, and as a public service,” Ophir wrote, “I intend to publish the particulars of how to make contact with the Facebook Israel CEO, the leading Facebook officer, within 72 hours, in order to allow Mrs. Soffer-Teeni to prepare accordingly.”

Without knowing the full background, it’s impossible to comment authoritatively on the merits of the matter. However, it is possible to note the storm of publicity generated. A cynic might suggest that Guy Ophir harbored a hope that prodding the Facebook monolith might be worthy of publicity. On the other hand, it may be that outsiders with a less than favorable attitude towards Facebook, will see the potential leaking of Adi Soffer-Teeni’s personal details as somewhat ironical given the company’s less than stellar record on privacy.

Incidentally, the title of this post comes from this part of the Globes article, quoting Ophir:

“The global Facebook corporation and/or the Israeli Facebook has no body and no soul that can be pressured. It is an artificial construct composed and managed by human beings, one of whom is Soffer-Teeni. Soffer-Teeni is CEO of Facebook Israel. She is the manager, and she is responsible for its activity.

I have no doubt that the protest I’m conducting against Facebook and against Soffer-Teeni is causing her discomfort, but the decision not to publish the telephone number, fax number, and e-mail address of Facebook Israel is her decision, and all she has to do is change her decision, in which case there will be no need to reveal how to make personal contact with her.”

Read it all, here.