It’s social media day on Slate; they also have a piece about how crappy Facebook is at doing anything about bullying and harassment…except that they don’t put it that harshly, and they should.
A woman in Texas is suing them for doing nothing whatsoever about a report she sent them that someone was posting fake porn pictures of her. Yeah that sounds like Facebook. I suppose they sent her that form letter that says “we saw your report, your reports help us make Facebook safe and welcoming, we’re ignoring your report, we have no reason in fact we didn’t even look at it even though we just said we did, have a nice day.”
Facebook (which I have advised in connection with my work as a member of the Anti-Cyberhate Working Group) and other content providers should heed her lawsuit’s message. Ali’s claims express dissatisfaction with the enormous, unchecked power that digital gatekeepers wield. Her suit essentially says: Hey Facebook, I thought that you had a “no nudity” and “no harassment” policy. Other people reporting abuse got results, why not me?Why would you take down photos of women breastfeeding but not doctored photos portraying me as engaged in porn without my permission? Did my complaint get lost in a black hole or was it ignored for a reason?
Facebook could have alleviated a lot of Ali’s frustration by actually responding to her when she first made contact.
Ya, and they don’t do that. I along with a whole bunch of other people reported a horrible page on Facebook a few days ago that was set up for no purpose in the world other than to mock and bully and harass Melody Hensley. We all got instant replies from the algorithm, saying what I just said they said.
We reviewed your report of Getting PTSD from tumblr posts without trigger warnings
Thank you for taking the time to report something that you feel may violate our Community Standards. Reports like yours are an important part of making Facebook a safe and welcoming environment. We reviewed the Page you reported for harassment and found it doesn’t violate our Community Standards.
That’s what they say. That’s what they always say. Just for one problem, it’s a lie – they did not review the page; they didn’t even see my report. The reply came instantly; it’s obviously automated. Why the hell do they say they reviewed the page when they didn’t? Having done that, why do they then insult us further by saying “Reports like yours are an important part of making Facebook a safe and welcoming environment”?
With great power comes great responsibility, and Facebook needs to improve its terms-of-service enforcement process by creating an official means of review that includes notifying users about the outcome of their complaints….Facebook can also improve the enforcement process by ensuring that reports of certain abuse—like harassment, nude images, and bullying—get priority review over others, such as spam. When users are filing complaints, they should be prompted to provide information that would better help staff identify those requiring immediate attention.
All true, and none of that is what happens now, as you know if you’ve ever reported anything to Facebook. They just throw it out and send you an insulting pack of lies 2 seconds later.
Bottom line: Facebook needs to start explaining its decisions when users file complaints, no matter the result. Ali should have been told whether or not Facebook viewed what happened to her as a violation. She should have been told whether or not it would be taking the content down, or what the next step would be. And to ensure the fairness of the process, Facebook should not only notify users of decisions but also permit them to appeal. Of course, Facebook is not our government; it does not have to grant individuals any due process under the law. But it should have an appeals procedure anyway, because when people perceive a process to be fair, they are more inclined to accept its results.
It also needs to stop telling lies about reviewing the page when they didn’t review the page.