Facebook Scrambles to Censor More Content After NYT Hit Piece

A scathing New York Times article sent Facebook into a frenzy to fix its public image. The resulting plan has the company vowing to restrict content, even when it doesn’t violate the firm’s guidelines.

The Times piece accused Facebook of working with conservative groups and generating stories from a conservative angle that discredited liberal activists funded by Soros, as well as Apple, and Google. Left-wing groups started calling for the firing of Joel Kaplan, a conservative executive at Facebook. CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote a lengthy response for the media attack: Not only will Facebook content be regulated by outside groups, but also Facebook will censor more content in order to keep users happy.

In a blogpost for Facebook, Zuckerberg wrote that Facebook algorithms will now remove content that is considered to be almost, but not quite, violations of the Community Standards. He wrote, “We train AI systems to detect borderline content so we can distribute that content less.” By “adjusting the curve,” Zuckerberg hoped that Facebook would become better at identifying “harmful content.”

He also announced that filters would be put into place so that users by default only see content that is nowhere near close to the line of abusive behavior. He admitted that content that didn’t violate Community Standards would also be censored, “[The filter] will be on by default and it means you will see less content that is close to the line, even if it doesn’t actually violate our standards.”

Zuckerberg wrote that there would always be issues, and also admitted that there was no objective definition of fairness that Facebook would follow. He confessed that no matter what route Facebook took, it would be accused of bias. 

Then he announced that he was open to having Facebook regulated by local governments. Zuckerberg said that individual companies should not be “handling so many of these issues of free expression and public safety on their own.” He referenced his partnership with President Emmanuel Macron of France to regulate “hate speech.”

At the end of the post, Zuckerberg wrote that while he had hoped that Facebook’s more open policies would “align with our democratic ideals and enlightenment philosophy of free thought and free expression,” they did not. Instead, apparently, users “attempted to interfere in elections, spread misinformation, and even incited violence.”

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