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Facebook bans conservatives but fails to stop child exploitation apps

Facebook monitors billions of posts per day in over 100 languages. The company’s solution is a network of ideologically-minded workers that ban content with the help of PowerPoint slides. That sadly does not include child porn on third-party apps.

Published: December 29, 2018, 9:08 am

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    New research provided exclusively to TechCrunch by anti-harassment algorithm startup AntiToxin shows that child porn sharing rings on WhatsApp were supported with ads run by Google and Facebook’s ad networks.

    AntiToxin found six of these apps ran Google AdMob, one ran Google Firebase, two ran Facebook Audience Network and one ran StartApp.

    That means that highly offensive third-party apps that host Facebook and Google ads, earn them money.

    The wide extent of child exploitation imagery found on Facebook and WhatsApp have not yet been reported law enforcement either and user accounts that joined them have not yet been terminated.

    Google and Facebook, with their vast headcounts and profit margins, do not seem to care at all who hosts their ad networks. The companies have sought to earn extra revenue by powering ads on other apps, yet strangely fail to notice that they are facilitating crimes.

    Instead a company like Facebook focuses on banning conservative ideas.

    The anti-conservative guidelines that emerge from their meetings are sent out to 15 000 moderators around the world, The New York Times reported.

    “Facebook’s role has become so hegemonic, so monopolistic, that it has become a force unto itself,” said Jasmin Mujanovic, an expert on the Balkans. “No one entity, especially not a for-profit venture like Facebook, should have that kind of power to influence public debate and policy.”

    Rules have not had an impact on Facebook being a powerful arbiter of global speech. The Facebook guidelines look like a handbook for regulating global politics. They consist of a myriad of PowerPoint presentations and Excel spreadsheets with political headings like “Western Balkans Hate Orgs and Figures” and “Credible Violence: Implementation standards”.

    But Facebook moderators rely on Google Translate, suggesting that Facebook does not have moderators who speak local languages and thus do not understand local contexts.

    But even if they understand English, the company has displayed a clear bias against conservatives. In the United States, Facebook banned the Proud Boys, a pro-Trump group.

    The company also blocked an advertisement about a caravan of illegal Central American migrants advancing towards the US border, that was produced by President Trump’s political team.

    The company bans an impressive array of conservative American and British groups, but violent Nazi groups, particularly Ukraine, are allowed to freely participate.

    In India, Chinmayi Arun, a legal scholar, identified troubling mistakes in Facebook’s guidelines.

    Moderators were told that any post degrading an entire religion violates Indian law and should be flagged for removal, but it is incorrect. Indian law prohibits blasphemy only in certain conditions.

    Moderators thus “look out for” the phrase “Free Kashmir”, but the slogan is completely legal in India.

    Facebook says moderators are given ample time to review posts and they do not have quotas. But moderators contradicted the official company statement, saying they face massive pressure to review about a thousand pieces of content per day.

    They have eight to 10 seconds for each post and only ideological bias helps them to make a quick decision.

    In August Facebook banned popular blogger Elizabeth Johnston, also known as “The Activist Mommy”. They were forced to acknowledge their “mistake” however. She has more than 600 000 followers on Facebook.

    “Apparently, I upset the ‘Thought Police’ over at Facebook with something I posted,” Johnston told CBN News. “When I clicked on Facebook to post something last Wednesday, I couldn’t post and was notified I had been banned for ‘hate speech’. Facebook refused to tell me what I posted that was hateful, so how am I supposed to prevent an infraction in the future?”

    Johnston often speaks out against homosexuality and pornographic curricula in public schools.

    Prager University’s videos with conservative political views, had earlier warned in a tweet: “We’re being heavily censored on @Facebook.”

    “The truth is, Facebook is owned and run by radical leftists who intentionally keep the community guidelines very subjective and vague, which gives them unlimited power to silence and marginalize anyone whose voice they want to shut down,” said Johnston.

    “The Left fears our voices because we are effectively persuading and dismantling their lies about abortion, homosexuality, Islam, radical feminism, and a host of other issues that are an all-out assault on our Christian values.”

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