Culture Beat / June 29, 2018

Facebook Cracks Down on ‘Bad Actors’

The social media giant takes another step to aggressively limit fake news and “hate speech.”

Facebook recently announced that it had deleted more than 10,000 user accounts it described as “bad actors” as part of its ongoing effort to crack down on “fake news.” Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity, explained, “As part of our broader efforts to prevent abuse and ensure Facebook is a safe place for everyone, we recently took down more than 10,000 fake Pages, Groups and accounts in Mexico and across Latin America because they violated our Community Standards. The content we’ve found broke our policies on coordinated harm and inauthentic behavior, as well as attacks based on race, gender or sexual orientation.”

Gleicher went on to explain that the social media giant has removed “837 million pieces of spam and 2.5 million pieces of hate speech and disabled 583 million fake accounts globally” so far this year alone. Gleicher did not elaborate on what Facebook considers “hate speech” but noted that “artificial intelligence and computer vision” was being used to quickly and “proactively detect bad actors’ actions.”

The fact that Facebook has repeatedly exposed its leftist bias — including by its tapping the Southern Poverty Law Center as a resource for listing “hate groups” and defining “hate speech” — gives conservatives little assurance that their content and posts won’t be suppressed, filtered or removed.

It can be argued that Gleicher admitted as much, saying that Facebook was aggressively seeking to crack down on “bad actors” in light of the coming midterm elections. He notes, “This kind of action is especially important in the run-up to elections, when people use Facebook to connect with candidates, debate hard issues, and get information about the decisions they face. It’s why we’ve been working so hard to prevent election interference by doubling down on fake accounts that spread misinformation; working with third-party fact-checkers to stop the spread of false news; and making advertising much more transparent.”

But as Erin Dunne of the Washington Examiner argues, “Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are private companies. … Their obligation is … to their investors and shareholders.” Therefore, the only real way to hold them accountable is via the market. If conservatives start leaving Facebook in droves, execs would quickly figure out a way to respond to the customer.

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