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>> Sreenivasan: THIS WEEK,
FACEBOOK BANNED SEVERAL HIGH
PROFILE ACCOUNTS THAT IT SAYS
ENGAGE IN VIOLENCE AND HATE,
INCLUDING WHITE SUPREMACISTS,
NATION OF ISLAM LEADER LOUIS
FARRAKHAN, AND A NUMBER OF
RIGHT-WING COMMENTATORS
INCLUDING ALEX JONES.
IN THE WAKE OF LIVE-STREAMED
ATTACKS AND PUBLISHED THREATS,
THERE ARE NEW CALLS FOR SOCIAL
MEDIA COMPANIES TO DO MORE TO
BLOCK EXTREMISM AND HATE.
AT FACEBOOK, THOUSANDS OF REAL
PEOPLE KNOWN AS MODERATORS ARE
THE FRONTLINES OF THIS BATTLE,
LOOKING AND LISTENING TO SOME
HORRIFIC MATERIAL.
I RECENTLY SPOKE WITH CASEY
NEWTON, SILICON VALLEY EDITOR
FOR "THE VERGE," WHO REPORTED ON
THE TOLL THIS CONTENT IS TAKING
ON FACEBOOK MODERATORS.
THIS IS NOT JUST IN THE CONTEXT
OF THE NEW ZEALAND ATTACKS.
THIS IS SOMETHING THAT IS
STRUCTURALLY BUILT IN SO THAT
BASICALLY THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO
SEE THINGS ON FACEBOOK SO THAT
THE REST OF US DON'T HAVE TO,
RIGHT?
>> ANYTIME YOU SEE SOMETHING ON
FACEBOOK THAT YOU DON'T LIKE,
YOU CAN CLICK A BUTTON TO REPORT
IT.
AND IF YOU DO THAT, A HUMAN
BEING WILL LOOK AT IT AND
DETERMINE WHETHER IT VIOLATES
FACEBOOK'S COMMUNITY STANDARDS
OR NOT.
A LOT OF THE STUFF THEY SEE IS
BENIGN, BUT A LOT OF IT IS
REALLY SHOCKING AND DISTURBING,
AND SOME OF THAT CAN HAVE A
LONG-TERM TOLL ON THEIR LIVES.
>> Sreenivasan: SO, WHAT KIND OF
THINGS... WITHOUT GETTING TOO
GRAPHIC, WHAT KIND OF THINGS ARE
FACEBOOK MODERATORS LOOKING AT
PRETTY MUCH ALL DAY?
IT'S SHIFT WORK.
>> THAT'S RIGHT.
I MEAN, SOME OF THE THINGS THAT
FOLKS HAVE DESCRIBED TO ME WOULD
INCLUDE VIOLENCE FROM DRUG
CARTELS, MIGHT INCLUDE TERRORIST
CONTENT FROM ISIS, CHILD
EXPLOITATION, AND, YOU KNOW,
SORT OF EVERY FLAVOR OF VIOLENCE
THAT YOU CAN IMAGINE.
>> Sreenivasan: AND SO, THEY ARE
EXPECTED TO DO WHAT?
AND AT WHAT PACE AND WHAT SPEED
DO THEY LOOK AT THIS STUFF AND
DECIDE WHAT TO DO WITH IT?
>> YEAH.
SO, THEIR GOAL FOR IMAGES IS TO
REMOVE THOSE WITHIN ABOUT 15
SECONDS.
AND WITH VIDEOS, IT'S ABOUT 30
SECONDS.
AND OVER THE COURSE OF THE DAY,
THEY MIGHT BE ASKED TO MAKE 300
DECISIONS, SOMETIMES EVEN 400
DECISIONS.
AND ONE OF THE REASONS THAT'S
VERY DIFFICULT IS BECAUSE THE
POLICY CHANGES ALMOST EVERY DAY
AS MODERATORS GET NEW GUIDANCE
ABOUT WHICH POSTS WILL AND WILL
NOT BE ALLOWED TO STAY UP.
WE SHOULD ALSO SAY THAT THEY ARE
EVALUATED BASED ON THEIR
ACCURACY.
SO, IF THEY TAKE SOMETHING DOWN
AND THEY WEREN'T SUPPOSED TO,
THAT'S A BLACK MARK ON THEIR
RECORD.
AND IF THEY HAVE JUST A FEW OF
THOSE OVER A WEEK-LONG PERIOD,
THEY CAN BE FIRED.
>> Sreenivasan: SO, IS THERE A
FINE LINE ON WHAT IS AND WHAT IS
NOT ALLOWED ON FACEBOOK AS A
PLATFORM?
>> ABSOLUTELY.
IF YOU JUST READ THROUGH THE
GUIDELINES ON NUDITY, FOR
EXAMPLE-- SOMETHING THAT YOU
MIGHT THINK WOULD BE RELATIVELY
EASY TO DEFINE WHAT WOULD AND
WOULD NOT BE ALLOWED-- IT'S
ACTUALLY INCREDIBLY DETAILED.
IT'S A VERY LONG SECTION OF THE
GUIDELINES, AND IT GOES INTO
BREATHTAKING DETAIL ABOUT
EXACTLY WHICH BODY PARTS AND HOW
MUCH OF WHICH BODY PARTS CAN BE
DEPICTED IN A PHOTO OR VIDEO.
AND THEN, OF COURSE, THERE ARE
DOZENS OF OTHER CATEGORIES THAT
MODERATORS NEED TO FAMILIARIZE
THEMSELVES WITH AND THEN NEVER
MAKE A MISTAKE.
>> Sreenivasan: IN THAT CASE,
YOU CAN TECHNICALLY SEE WHAT'S
HAPPENING.
SOMETIMES IT'S AUDIO, AS WELL.
I MEAN, IS THERE... IS THERE A
LINE WHAT YOU CAN HEAR, WHAT YOU
CAN SEE, WHAT'S IMPLIED, AND
THEN WHAT'S FREEDOM OF SPEECH?
>> EXACTLY.
WELL, YOU KNOW, SO, WHAT YOU'RE
GETTING AT IS THAT WE'RE ASKING
THESE FOLKS TO MAKE JUDGMENT
CALLS, RIGHT?
IF YOU ACCEPT THAT MUCH OF OUR
POLITICAL DISCUSSIONS NOW TAKE
PLACE ON SOCIAL NETWORKS, THEN
THE FOLKS WHO ARE MODERATING
THIS CONTENT ARE ESSENTIALLY
FIRST RESPONDERS.
THEY'RE ON THE FRONT LINES, AND
WE'VE ENTRUSTED THEM WITH THESE
REALLY FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS OF
SAFETY AND SECURITY.
AND WHILE WE'VE GIVEN THEM
VOLUMINOUS GUIDELINES FROM WHICH
TO APPLY THE POLICY, THE TRUTH
IS THAT SOME OF THESE ARE ALWAYS
GOING TO BE JUDGMENT CALLS.
I HAD MODERATORS TELL ME ABOUT
CASES WHERE THEY WOULD BE TOLD
TO TAKE A POST DOWN, AND THEY
WOULD DO THAT AND THEN LATER
THEY WOULD BE TOLD, "OH, NO, NO,
LEAVE IT BACK UP."
AND THEN, HOURS LATER, TAKE IT
BACK DOWN AGAIN.
IT'S THAT KIND OF INTRICATE OF A
DECISION-MAKING PROCESS.
IT'S VERY FAST, IT'S VERY FLUID,
AND FOLKS JUST CHANGE THEIR
MINDS.
SO, IT'S INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT
WORK THAT, OF COURSE, IS ALSO
VERY LOW PAID.
>> Sreenivasan: NOW, THESE ARE
JUST A FEW THOUSAND PEOPLE IN
ONE LOCATION OR ANOTHER, BUT
THEY'RE NOT ACTUALLY GOING OUT
AND SEEING ALL THE PAGES THAT
EXIST ON FACEBOOK.
THAT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE.
SO, THERE'S, WHAT, AN ALGORITHM
THAT'S KIND OF SORTING IT
THROUGH AND THEN KIND OF PUTTING
IT UP ON A SILVER PLATTER TO
THEM?
>> THAT'S RIGHT.
SO, IF YOU SEE SOMETHING YOU
DON'T LIKE ON FACEBOOK, YOU CAN
CLICK A BUTTON TO REPORT IT, AND
ALL OF THAT GOES INTO A BIG
QUEUE.
AND THEN, THAT GETS SERVED UP TO
THESE MODERATORS, OFTEN IN NO
PARTICULAR ORDER.
SO, THEY SIT DOWN AT THEIR DESK,
THEY CLICK A BUTTON THAT SAYS
"RESUME REVIEWING" INSIDE A
CUSTOM PIECE OF SOFTWARE THAT
FACEBOOK HAS, AND THEN THEY JUST
START SEEING THIS MASS OF POSTS.
AND SOME OF THEM WILL BE VERY
SIMPLE BULLYING, SOME OF THEM
WILL BE VERY BENIGN, AND THEN
SOME OF THEM WILL BE INCREDIBLY
DISTURBING.
>> Sreenivasan: TELL ME A LITTLE
BIT ABOUT THE KIND OF RIPPLE
EFFECTS AND THE CONSEQUENCES
OF... I MEAN, YOU TALKED TO A
LOT OF DIFFERENT PEOPLE FOR THIS
STORY, SOME WITH THE BLESSING
OF THE EMPLOYER AND THEN QUITE A
FEW WHO SPOKE TO YOU ON KIND OF
THE CONDITION OF ANONYMITY.
>> THAT'S RIGHT.
AND THE REASON FOR THAT IS THAT
FACEBOOK REQUIRES ALL OF THESE
FOLKS TO SIGN A NONDISCLOSURE
AGREEMENT.
THAT HAS SOME BENEFITS.
IT DISCOURAGES THEM FROM TALKING
ABOUT PERSONAL INFORMATION OF
FACEBOOK USERS, AND IT ALSO
PROTECTS THEIR SAFETY.
FACEBOOK, YOU KNOW, IF FOLKS
KNEW THAT THEY WERE MODERATING
CONTENT FOR FACEBOOK-- MAYBE
FACEBOOK REMOVED ONE OF THEIR
POSTS-- YOU CAN IMAGINE THAT
THAT COULD LEAD TO SOME... SOME
PRETTY UGLY CONFRONTATION.
SO, THOSE N.D.A.s HAVE A
POSITIVE SIDE TO THEM, BUT THEY
ALSO HAVE A NEGATIVE SIDE WHICH
IS THAT A LOT OF THE FOLKS THAT
I SPOKE WITH SAID THEY DIDN'T
EVEN FEEL COMFORTABLE TALKING
ABOUT THEIR WORK WITH THEIR...
THEIR PARTNERS, THEIR SPOUSES,
THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS, THEIR
CLOSE FRIENDS BECAUSE THEY WERE
WORRIED THAT THEY WOULD BE HELD
LEGALLY LIABLE FOR VIOLATING
THIS N.D.A.
AND WHEN YOU CONSIDER THE KIND
OF CONTENT THAT THEY'RE LOOKING
AT AND HOW DEPRESSING AND
UPSETTING SOME OF THAT CONTENT
IS, THAT CAN PUT SOME OF THEM
INTO A VERY DARK PLACE, RIGHT,
WHERE THEY FEEL LIKE THEY
CAN'T... THEY DON'T HAVE ANYONE
THAT THEY CAN TALK TO.
SO, I TALKED TO A NUMBER OF
FOLKS WHO TOLD ME THAT THEY HAD
DEVELOPED SYMPTOMS THAT CLOSELY
RESEMBLE POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS
DISORDER.
AND THEN, IN ANOTHER SORT OF
STRANGE TWIST, A LOT OF THE
MODERATORS I SPOKE WITH SAID
THAT THE MORE THAT THEY REVIEWED
CONTENT ABOUT SORT OF FRINGE
CONSPIRACY THEORIES, THE MORE
THEY THEMSELVES CAME TO BELIEVE
IT.
AND SO, A LOT OF THE MODERATORS
I'VE SPOKEN WITH NOW BELIEVE IN
SOME OF THE CONSPIRACY THEORIES
THAT THEY'D BEEN ASKED TO
MODERATE.
>> Sreenivasan: YOU KNOW, THIS
IS YOU... THERE'S A PARAGRAPH
FROM YOUR STORY I WANT TO QUOTE:
"THE MODERATORS TOLD ME IT'S A
PLACE WHERE THE CONSPIRACY
VIDEOS AND MEMES THEY SEE EACH
DAY GRADUALLY LEAD THEM TO
EMBRACE FRINGE VIEWS.
ONE AUDITOR WALKS THE FLOOR
PROMOTING THE IDEA THAT THE
EARTH IS FLAT.
A FORMER EMPLOYEE TOLD ME HE HAS
BEGUN TO QUESTION CERTAIN
ASPECTS OF THE HOLOCAUST.
ANOTHER FORMER EMPLOYEE WHO TOLD
ME HE HAS MAPPED EVERY ESCAPE
ROUTE OUT OF HIS HOUSE AND
SLEEPS WITH A GUN AT HIS SIDE,
SAID, 'I NO LONGER BELIEVE 9/11
WAS A TERRORIST ATTACK,' AND
THIS IS A RESULT OF THE JOB THAT
THEY'RE DOING EVERY DAY."
>> YEAH.
YEAH, THAT'S EXACTLY RIGHT.
I MEAN, AND CERTAINLY FOR ME AS
A REPORTER, YOU KNOW, AND WE
SHOULD SAY THERE'S BEEN SOME
GREAT REPORTING ABOUT CONTENT
MODERATORS IN THE PAST AND A
VARIETY OF OTHER OUTLETS.
A LOT OF IT IS LINKED IN MY
PIECE.
BUT THAT PASSAGE THAT YOU READ
CONTAINED SOME OF THE STUFF THAT
SURPRISED ME THE MOST IN MY
REPORTING.
IT WAS SOME STUFF THAT I DON'T
THINK HAS REALLY BEEN EXPLORED
BEFORE.
AND THAT'S THE LONG-TERM EFFECT
THAT THIS WORK CAN HAVE ON
FOLKS.
AND, YOU KNOW, KEEP IN MIND THAT
MANY OF THE PEOPLE THAT I'VE
SPOKE WITH ONLY DO THIS JOB FOR
ABOUT A YEAR.
THAT'S ABOUT AS LONG AS THEY CAN
HANDLE IT.
NOT ALL OF THEM MAKE IT THAT
LONG.
OTHER FOLKS GET FIRED DURING
TRAINING, FOR EXAMPLE.
AND SO, YOU MIGHT DO THIS JOB
FOR, YOU KNOW, EIGHT WEEKS, TEN
WEEKS, 12 WEEKS, MAKING $15 AN
HOUR.
YOU GET FIRED OR YOU LEAVE
BECAUSE IT'S TOO UPSETTING, AND
YOU'RE GOING TO THEN HAVE
LASTING PSYCHOLOGICAL TRAUMA,
WHICH, OF COURSE, FACEBOOK IS
NOT GOING TO PAY FOR YOU TO GO
GET TREATMENT FOR THAT.
>> Sreenivasan: YEAH.
I WAS GOING TO SAY, LET'S JUST
CLARIFY HERE.
THE COMPANY THAT YOU WENT AND
PROFILED, THIS IS NOT FACEBOOK
ITSELF.
THIS IS BASICALLY LIKE A
SUBCONTRACTOR, RIGHT?
SO, FACEBOOK WRITES A CHECK TO
THESE FOLKS, AND THESE FOLKS ARE
AT A SEPARATE COMPANY
ALTOGETHER.
>> THAT'S RIGHT.
SO, FACEBOOK AND OTHER TECH
PLATFORMS USE THIS KIND OF CALL
CENTER MODEL OF CONTENT
MODERATION.
SO, THERE'S A LARGE HANDFUL OF
COMPANIES AROUND THE WORLD, AND
THEIR PRIMARY EXPERTISE IS JUST
IN FINDING PEOPLE AND QUICKLY
PLUGGING THEM INTO THE SYSTEM.
SO, THE ONE THAT I SPOKE WITH
WAS A COMPANY CALLED COGNIZANT
WHICH HAS A BUNCH OF SITES.
THERE'S ANOTHER ONE CALLED
JENPACK.
THERE'S ANOTHER ONE CALLED
ACCENTURE, AND THEY ALL WORK IN
BASICALLY THE SAME WAY.
FACEBOOK WRITES THEM A BIG
CHECK, SAYS, "WE NEED A CERTAIN
NUMBER OF PEOPLE TO HELP US
MODERATE ALL OF THE CONTENT
THAT'S GETTING REPORTED."
AND THEN, IT'S UP TO THOSE
COMPANIES TO GO OUT AND KIND OF
SET THINGS UP.
BUT WE KNOW FACEBOOK WILL TELL
YOU IT'S VERY PRESCRIPTIVE ABOUT
HOW THOSE SHOPS ARE SET UP.
THEY WANT THEM TO LOOK A CERTAIN
WAY.
THEY WANT EMPLOYEES TO HAVE
CERTAIN ACCESS TO MENTAL HEALTH
CARE RESOURCES WHILE THEY WORK
THERE, FOR EXAMPLE.
SO, FACEBOOK WORKS VERY, VERY
CLOSELY WITH THESE COMPANIES.
AND, YOU KNOW, IN MY VIEW, THESE
MODERATORS ARE FACEBOOK
EMPLOYEES IN EVERYTHING BUT, YOU
KNOW, NAME BECAUSE, YOU KNOW,
THIS IS THE ONLY THING THAT
THEY'RE WORKING ON.
THEY ONLY HAVE THESE JOBS
BECAUSE FACEBOOK EXISTS.
>> Sreenivasan: ALL RIGHT.
THERE'S ANOTHER GRAPH, AND I'M
GOING TO POINT OUT: "IT'S A
PLACE WHERE, IN STARK CONTRAST
TO THE PERKS LAVISHED ON
FACEBOOK EMPLOYEES, TEAM LEADERS
MICROMANAGE CONTENT MODERATORS--
EVERY BATHROOM AND PRAYER
BREAK-- WHERE EMPLOYEES
DESPERATE FOR A DOPAMINE RUSH
AMID THE MISERY HAVE BEEN FOUND
HAVING SEX INSIDE STAIRWELLS AND
A ROOM RESERVED FOR LACTATING
MOTHERS, WHERE PEOPLE DEVELOP
SEVERE ANXIETY WHILE STILL IN
TRAINING AND CONTINUE TO
STRUGGLE WITH TRAUMA SYMPTOMS
LONG AFTER THEY LEAVE AND WHERE
THE COUNSELING THE COGNIZANT
OFFERS THEM ENDS THE MOMENT
THEY QUIT OR ARE SIMPLY LET GO."
I MEAN, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU'RE
TALKING ABOUT LONG-TERM
CONSEQUENCES, THE IDEA THAT YOU
WOULD NO LONGER HAVE ACCESS TO
THE COUNSELOR OR A GROUP OF
COUNSELORS THAT MIGHT HELP YOU
WITH THE VERY THING THAT YOU'VE
SUFFERED THROUGH THE JOB THE DAY
AFTER YOU LEAVE THAT JOB.
IT'S NOT LIKE THE PROBLEM STOPS.
>> YEAH.
THAT'S EXACTLY RIGHT.
AND THAT'S SOMETHING THAT I HOPE
WE CAN CONTINUE PAYING MORE
ATTENTION TO IN THE MONTHS
AHEAD.
YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT
OTHER FOLKS WHO HAVE THIS KIND
OF JOB, OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE IN
FIRST RESPONDER ROLES-- A POLICE
OFFICER, A FIREFIGHTER, A SOCIAL
WORKER-- IN MANY CASES, WE THINK
THAT THOSE JOBS ARE SO IMPORTANT
THAT WE ALL COLLECTIVELY PAY FOR
THEM AS TAXPAYERS, AND WE GIVE
THEM PENSIONS BECAUSE WE
ACKNOWLEDGE THE SACRIFICES THAT
THEY HAVE MADE SO THAT WE CAN
HAVE A SAFE AND FREE SOCIETY.
AND I THINK THAT THE TIME HAS
COME FOR US TO SHIFT OUR
PERSPECTIVE ON WHAT THESE
PLATFORMS ARE AND ON THE VALUE
OF THE WORK THAT THESE FOLKS ARE
DOING BECAUSE, AGAIN, IF YOU
TAKE CONTENT MODERATION OFF OF
ANY SOCIAL NETWORK-- WHETHER
IT'S FACEBOOK, YOUTUBE, TWITTER,
REDDIT-- THOSE PLACES QUICKLY
BECOME TOTALLY UNUSABLE.
THEY'RE OVERRUN BY TROLLS.
YOU AND I WOULD NEVER WANT TO
SPEND ANY TIME THERE.
AND SO, BECAUSE OF THE WORK THAT
THESE FOLKS ARE DOING AND
BECAUSE OF THE REALLY DISTURBING
STUFF THAT THEY ARE SUBJECTED TO
AND WORK THROUGH, THEY... THEY
CREATE A SAFER WORLD FOR THE
REST OF US.
AND YET, THEY CAN BE FIRED FOR
BASICALLY ANYTHING, AND THEN
THEY NEVER GET ANY HELP FROM THE
COMPANY THAT PUT THEM INTO THAT
POSITION.
SO, I DO THINK THAT THAT IS RIPE
FOR RETHINKING.
>> Sreenivasan: ALL RIGHT.
A COUPLE OF COMMENTS THAT ARE
COMING IN.
LAMANTIA RON SAYS, "SPEECH IS
FREE, BUT IT NEEDS TO BE
MONITORED.
THANK YOU, FELLOW MODERATORS."
YOU KNOW, TONY CASADO ASKS,
"WHAT DO YOU THINK THE HIGHER-
UPS COULD DO BETTER?"
DECENT QUESTION.
>> YEAH.
SO, I MEAN, I THINK THERE'S TWO
THINGS THAT THEY COULD DO
BASICALLY OVERNIGHT THAT WOULD
BE GREAT.
THE FIRST THING THEY COULD DO IS
PAY THESE MODERATORS MORE.
SO, THE AVERAGE CONTENT
MODERATOR IN PHOENIX WHERE I
WROTE MAKES $15 AN HOUR.
THAT'S ABOUT $28,800 A YEAR.
WHEN YOU LOOK AT OTHER PEOPLE
AND FIRST RESPONDER ROLES LIKE A
FIREFIGHTER OR A POLICE OFFICER,
IT'S NOT UNCOMMON FOR US TO PAY
THEM ABOUT $60,000 A YEAR.
I THINK THAT WOULD CREATE
ENORMOUS BENEFITS IN THE LIVES
OF ALL THE FOLKS THAT ARE DOING
THIS WORK, AND IT WOULD ACTUALLY
ACKNOWLEDGE THAT WORK AS HIGH-
SKILLED LABOR, YOU KNOW, WHICH
IT REALLY IS.
SO, I WOULD START BY PAYING
THESE FOLKS MORE MONEY.
AND THEN, I THINK IT'S TIME TO
TURN OUR ATTENTION TO THE
WORKING CONDITIONS IN THESE
JOBS.
YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT
I JUST COULDN'T GET OVER ABOUT
THIS STORY IS THAT THESE
MODERATORS HAVE TO CLICK A
BROWSER EXTENSION EVERY TIME
THEY WANT TO USE THE BATHROOM.
THEY'RE NOT ALLOWED TO LEAVE
THEIR DESK WITHOUT TELLING
SOMEONE WHY.
I SORT OF THINK THAT IF A
FACEBOOK EXECUTIVE HAD TO LIVE
UNDER THAT SYSTEM FOR JUST ONE
DAY, THAT SYSTEM WOULD BE OVER
THAT DAY.
AND I THINK THEY COULD SORT OF
EXTEND THE SAME FREEDOMS THAT
THEY ENJOY DURING THEIR WORKDAY
TO THEIR COLLEAGUES WHO ARE
DOING THIS... THIS WORK.
SO, GIVE THEM A LITTLE BIT MORE
AGENCY, A LITTLE BIT MORE
FREEDOM.
TREAT THEM LIKE THE HIGH-SKILLED
LABORERS THAT THEY ARE.
>> Sreenivasan: ANOTHER COMMENT
THAT CAME IN IS THAT THERE'S
NO... THIS IS FROM ANNE DEVRIES:
"THERE'S NO NEED FOR FREEDOM OF
SPEECH IN A PRIVATELY-OWNED
COMPANY.
FACEBOOK NEEDS TO TAKE STEPS TO
REMOVE HATE USERS."
THAT'S A PRETTY BIG IDEA, BUT
IT'S REALLY, REALLY HARD TO
INSTITUTE, I IMAGINE, ON A SCALE
AS BIG AS FACEBOOK?
>> YEAH, I MEAN, AMERICAN SOCIAL
NETWORKS TEND TO BE FOUNDED ON
THE IDEA THAT THEY SHOULD
MAXIMIZE THE AMOUNT OF SPEECH
THAT IS ALLOWED ON THE PLATFORM,
RIGHT?
AND THAT VERY MUCH COMES OUT OF
OUR VALUES AS AMERICANS.
WE BELIEVE IN THE FIRST
AMENDMENT, WE BELIEVE IN
RIGOROUS POLITICAL DEBATES.
AND I THINK IN A WORLD WHERE
MUCH OF OUR DISCUSSION AROUND
POLITICS HAS MOVED ONLINE, IT'S
IMPORTANT TO PROTECT A LOT OF
SPEECH, INCLUDING SPEECH FROM
PEOPLE THAT WE TOTALLY DISAGREE
WITH OR MAYBE WE THINK ARE EVEN
ACTING IN BAD FAITH.
BUT AT THE SAME TIME, THERE ARE
LINES TO BE DRAWN.
THE TRICKY PART IS THAT IT'S
HARD TO GET ALL OF US TO AGREE
ON THEM.
SO, YOU KNOW, I WOULD SAY TO THE
VIEWER'S COMMENT THAT FACEBOOK
HAS NO RIGHT TO... NO OBLIGATION
TO ALLOW ALL OF US TO HAVE FREE
SPEECH, SHE IS RIGHT.
IT IS A PRIVATE CORPORATION.
IT COULD SORT OF DRAW THE LINES
WHEREVER IT WANTS TO.
BUT I THINK THAT WE SHOULD BE
CAUTIOUS THERE BECAUSE FACEBOOK
HAS AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF POWER
AND, YOU KNOW, A WORLD IN WHICH
IT DECIDES WHICH ARE THE CORRECT
OPINIONS AND WHICH ARE THE
INCORRECT OPINIONS AND PERMITS
ONLY THE FORMER ON THE SITE,
THAT STARTS TO FEEL LIKE A
PRETTY DYSTOPIAN WORLD, AT LEAST
TO ME.
>> Sreenivasan: YEAH.
ALL RIGHT.
JOHN BOYLE ALSO MENTIONED
FACEBOOK COULD EASILY AFFORD TO
PAY A LIVING WAGE AND GOOD
BENEFITS.
AND AGAIN, THIS IS A
SUBCONTRACTOR THAT IS PROFILED
IN THIS STORY.
ANDY ADAMS MENTIONS, "SHUT DOWN
FACEBOOK AND SLOWLY REBOOT WITH
A DELAYED TIME FOR POSTS TO
APPEAR.
JUST IN THE WAKE OF THE NEW
ZEALAND SHOOTINGS, WE SAW AT
LEAST IN A "WASHINGTON POST"
PIECE ABOUT YOUTUBE, THAT AT
SOME POINT THEY WERE JUST SO
OVERWHELMED THAT THEY JUST SAID,
"LET'S TAKE THE HUMANS OUT OF
THE MIX AND LET THE ALGORITHM DO
THE WORK.
AND IF WE ERR ON THE SIDE OF
CENSORING TOO MUCH RIGHT NOW,
THAT'S OKAY.
WE'LL TRY TO FIX IT IN THE
COMING DAYS."
>> YEAH, I MEAN, I DO THINK THAT
PLATFORMS MIGHT CONSIDER TAKING
MORE HEAVY-HANDED ACTIONS IN THE
WAKE OF THESE CALAMITIES.
WE NOW KNOW THAT THERE IS A
PRETTY FAMILIAR PLAYBOOK THAT
THESE TROLLS RUN WHENEVER THERE
IS A MASS SHOOTING OR ANOTHER
DISASTER.
THEY WILL, YOU KNOW, RE-UPLOAD
THOUSANDS OF COPIES OF THE
ORIGINAL CRIME IF THERE WAS
FOOTAGE TAKEN, THEY WILL MAKE
VIDEOS SAYING THAT THE WHOLE
THING NEVER HAPPENED AND IT'S
ALL A BIG HOAX.
AND SO, I DO THINK THAT THERE
ARE STEPS WHERE THESE COMPANIES
COULD TAKE REALLY HEAVY-HANDED
ACTION, YOU KNOW, PERHAPS TO
PROHIBIT UPLOADING FOR A COUPLE
OF HOURS OR SOMETHING.
NOW, THIS GETS REALLY DIFFICULT
AT THE SCALE OF, LIKE, A
YOUTUBE.
YOU'RE GOING TO AFFECT A LOT OF
REALLY WELL-MEANING PEOPLE WHO
ARE MAYBE, YOU KNOW, JUST TRYING
TO MAKE A LIVING UPLOADING THEIR
OWN VIDEOS.
SO, YOU KNOW, THAT STUFF GETS
PRETTY TRICKY.
BUT, YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU GET DOWN
INTO THE NITTY GRITTY DETAILS,
THERE ARE WAYS TO DO IT.
FOR EXAMPLE, YOU KNOW, WHEN
PEOPLE UPLOAD THESE TERRIBLE
VIDEOS OVER AND OVER AGAIN,
OFTEN THEY'RE DOING IT FROM
BRAND NEW ACCOUNTS THAT DON'T
HAVE ANY VERIFIED CONTACT
INFORMATION.
SO, YOU KNOW, MAYBE IN THE
AFTERMATH OF THESE CALAMITIES,
PLATFORMS COULD JUST RESTRICT
UPLOADS TO ACCOUNTS THAT ARE
SOMEWHAT LESS ESTABLISHED.
>> Sreenivasan: ALL RIGHT.
CASEY NEWTON, SILICON VALLEY
EDITOR OF "THE VERGE," THANKS SO
MUCH FOR JOINING US.
>> MY PLEASURE.
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Facebook moderators battle hate speech and violence

347 Folder Collection
Yi-Jen Chang published on May 9, 2019
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