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In the Facebook group for flies, automated systems of social networks sometimes flag discussions about common backyard tools as inappropriate sexual discussions.
Facebook froze the accounts of some Native Americans years ago because its computers mistakenly believe that names like Lance Brownies are fake.
The company has repeatedly rejected advertisements for businesses selling clothing for people with disabilities, mostly in a mix that confuses products for medical promotion, which is against its rules.
Facebook, which has changed its name to Meta, and other social networks should make the difficult decision to balance to support free expression while excluding unwanted content such as child sexual abuse, violent incitement and the image of financial scams. But that is not the case with the above examples. It was a mistake made by a computer that could not control the subtleties.
Social networks are essential public spaces that are very large and fast moving for anyone to manage effectively. False call occurs.
These wonderful mistakes are not as important as determining whether Facebook should remove the former US president from its website. But public interest groups, such as the general public, businesses and news organizations, have not been helped when social networks cut off their accounts or find out what they have done wrong.
This does not happen frequently, but increases the size of Facebook with a small percentage of errors. The Wall Street Journal calculated that Facebook could make about 200,000 false calls a day.
Researchers on the social network have told me that Facebook – and its peers, although I will focus on Facebook here – can do much more to make fewer mistakes and minimize losses when it messes up.
Mistakes also raise a big question: are companies so necessary that when they don’t fix mistakes, we can’t do much?
Critics of the company and the semi-independent Facebook Oversight Board have repeatedly said that Facebook needs to make it easier for users whose posts have been deleted or whose accounts have been disabled to understand what rules they are violating and appeal the ruling. Facebook has done some of this, but not enough.
Researchers also want to analyze Facebook’s decision-making process and how often it messes up. The company opposes the idea as an intrusion on the privacy of its users.
Facebook has said it is working to become more transparent, and is spending billions of dollars on computer systems and people to monitor communications in its apps. People will disagree with his decisions on the post, no matter what.
But his critics say he has not done enough.
“These are legally difficult issues, and I don’t want to make these trade-offs and decisions,” said Evelyn Duke, a senior research fellow at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. “But I don’t think they’ve tried everything yet or invested enough resources to say we have the best number of errors.”
The mistakes that most companies make make serious mistakes. Facebook rarely does. Ryan Callo, a professor at the University of Washington Law School, compared Facebook and building demolition.
When companies demolish buildings, debris or vibrations can damage property or even injure people. Callo told me that because of the inherent risks, law-breaking in the U.S. puts companies at a higher level of liability. Companies should take safety precautions and cover any possible damage. Those potential consequences ideally make them more cautious.
But Kalo said the laws governing liability on the Internet have not done enough to hold companies accountable for damaging or restricting information in the same way.
“It’s time to dump her and move on,” she said.
Before we go
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