Facebook blames algorithm for censoring activists

Posted by David Gomez

In case you haven’t heard, there were some alleged censorship issues with Facebook over the weekend. We can blame it on an algorithm - at least for now.

According to the AP, the social networking site emailed notes of apology for blocking environmental activists and others from posting on Facebook pages with similar interests.
    
The most recent problems with Facebook aren't limited to regular everyday Joes either. Supposedly even Governors of states, like Jan Brewer (a Republican), were having issues with posting information on Facebook.
    
Interestingly enough, Facebook’s little censorship issue doesn't seem limited to a particular party; as liberals claim their ideas have been censored as well.
    
In the AP story, Facebook attributed problems with posting links and information to an anti-spam algorithm.

There was no deliberate attempt to stifle political opinions and ideas. The algorithm was just doing what it was designed to do and it messed up.
    
It sounds believable doesn’t it? And until people around the world can gather proof that something else is going on, we’ll just have to take their word for it.
    
Personally, I’m not sold on the whole idea that Facebook doesn’t blatantly censor things. I just don’t have the time to go through every little complaint to find proof that something else is going on.
    
But that’s why we have online forums and chat groups, now isn’t it? Maybe I can get help with this Facebook investigation from the online community…
    
I know that computers and the programs that operate them are flawed. We can make them think like us, but they are not us.
    
Yes, an algorithm can indeed mess up and believe legitimate content is spam when it is not. But those same algorithms can be tweaked to look out for certain political topics and ideas too.
    
There is rioting and civil unrest all over the world right now, and it was all supposedly coordinated through digital social networks. We are supposed to fear social networks now.

The guy who attacked Olso, Norway put his manifesto online for everyone to see before he went off the deep end. We are supposed to fear open access to information now too, even if that information clearly comes from a nutcase.

Can you see what the trend is lately?

Governments all over the world are mismanaging their countries to the point of collapse and some people are choosing to go nuts because of it. Some people are remaining sane, but we being told that the bad people are only bad because they got the idea to be bad from social media.

If it weren’t for social media people would love and accept the way world governments are ruining the financial future of the masses. Right?

Authoritarians are also trying to sell us on the idea that the Internet needs to be filtered and possibly censored by the government because too much access to information will somehow inspire people to carry out terrorists attacks.

Facebook, like it or not, falls into the same category that government does. It is a huge organization that has only been able to grow so large because the elite allowed it to.

The political/financial establishment is also the reason why people currently value Facebook around $100 billion. Do you really think Facebook creates as much tangible value as say Apple or Microsoft?

No way.

The day is going to come when the battle for the Internet can no longer be ignored.

The idea of an Internet and the connectivity it brings goes against the current mainstream ideas of how people should be governed. Many politicians and powerful figures think that the Internet gives people too much power to share ideas and expose their lies.

Maybe the recent issues with Facebook censorship can really be blamed on an algorithm. But keep in mind those algorithms are built by people who are motivated by certain things.

The Facebook staff who create the anti-spam algorithms can be motivated to make their algorithms censor content based on the ideas and information it contains, if they were persuaded to think that doing so would be in their best interests.

When it’s all said and done, the interests of political activists and Facebook probably will not be lined up. For now, though, we can blame the algorithm.