Cheat Sheet Q&A: Facebook's bias:
Today's entry: Good morning, Brian, I was amused (in a WTF kinda way) to hear your story on Facebook's moderation this morning. I do social media for my clients and had a run in with Facebook recently. We promoted a post that was struck down and deleted almost instantly for language violation. I assumed it was a mistake and appealed. Within half an hour received the reply below, after which they closed the case and shut down any further questions.
The phrase used that was so offensive and might cause "high negative sentiment"? Injury keeping you from running? The client is a physical therapist and the ad was for a special treadmill that can keep a person working out through an injury. I find it ironic that bullying children and snapping b***ch's necks is ok but referring to someone as injured is offensive and causes negativity. Out of touch liberal mentality at its finest.
Thanks again for always working so hard to bring us both sides of the story. Love your show and Cheat Sheet.
Bottom Line: It really is stunning isn't it? Facebook's ad content policies are more restrictive than it's user policies with regard to "acceptable" content but your point is well taken. The level of subjectivity is incredibly high. Facebook has 7,500 moderators as of May according to Mark Zuckerburg. That means that there are likely 7,500 different variations of what's acceptable content. Ads or otherwise. It sort of reminds me of IRS auditors interpreting the tax code with you in the cross hairs.
What might surprise you is that Facebook's direct political donations have actually been right leaning https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/lookup2.php?strID=C00502906
In the 2016 cycle here's the breakout of Facebook's donations along ideological lines:
- 56% Republicans
- 44% Democrats
In fact Facebook also donated a majority of money to Republicans in 2014 and 2012 as well. However, individual employees have donated at a near 90% rate to Democrats historically. Facebook has twice admitted to a liberal lean to it's prioritization of newsfeeds and it's likely that if there's subjectivity among the moderators it would lean left politically as well given the political composition of it's employees generally. Something that's important to remember/consider with regard to Facebook is that they have the right to do whatever the heck they choose to do with the platform - censoring whatever content they want to censor. It's up to us to determine if we'll continue to embrace it as a platform based on our experiences with it.
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