The British political commentary magazine “The Spectator” has published a nearly1400 word explanation for why the cover above was rejected for a Facebook advertisement (an “advert” in Brit-talk) as not complying with the platform’s policies, while these covers…
…were deemed acceptable.
As far as I can figure out from the rambling, sprawling account (this is why I seldom read “The Speculator”), the culprit is not necessarily biased human beings, but rather biased “bots” that review content and that don’t “get” satire. Then there’s the problem that Facebook has no transparent process to challenge arbitrary censorship. Hence the conclusion,
Facebook is now the no.1 source of UK news after the broadcasters, its bots deciding which news posts are promoted and which ones are concealed. Whoever programmes the bots wields more power than any of the great media barons: Hearst, Beaverbrook or Murdoch. I’m not saying that Facebook is politically biased, just that bots are getting more energetic which makes life harder for satire and against-the-grain arguments (from left or right). This is something I now encounter daily: a Kafkaesque process of rejection, lack of explanation and algorithm editing which has far more influence over what we read than is generally acknowledged.
Facebook, like most social media giants, does not feel the need to respond to people asking why their content has been targeted. There is no hotline to call, no account manager to complain to….Facebook’s processes are opaque, and are designed to be. Its censorship bots work on criteria that no one is ever allowed to know. When Facebook gets busted, it cites a technical flaw….
The bottom line is that Facebook is a California-based company which censors British content without being answerable to any UK authority…. This is the dilemma. The ‘public space’ now, is digital: the private property of a handful of tech giants that created it. They are beholden to no one. So they can strike down a sitting president because they feel like it…There is no regulation of this and no transparency, no obligation to notify publishers whose articles are targeted, leaving us to guess how we offended the bots.
The moral of this story is not that Facebook is censoring anti-Biden material. This shows how all publishers are now fighting blind in a world of bot-censors whose remit we can only guess at. These firms live in fear of publishing fake news, or misinformation – so their bots let rip, take down a lot of accurate and fair comment, and they don’t much care who gets gunned down in the crossfire.
That’s only 325 words. I’ll cut it down further:
It’s not “bots.” It’s the people who program the bots and accept their mindless, pre-biased verdicts.
That’s just 16 words.
Now I’ll do it in five.
Facebook is censoring anti-Biden material.