Facebook Launches 'Hate Speech' Checker
You know how Netflix is where we go to binge? Facebook is where we go to cringe. Don't make a face, stick with me for a second. Facebook is home to billions of selfie albums -- 24 piece series' wherein the subject tilts their head to a slightly different angle. This is why we call it the book of [embarrassingly puckered] faces. It's also a place where you can go to read paragraphs of unsolicited opinions and watch 30-second cat videos from The Dodo.
Sometimes the political rants are a tad overkill. They get in the way of quality content like Yodel Boy memes. Fret not, sweet child. The Zucky Zuck hath delivered a new tool to help you navigate his social waters.
I present to you the hate speech button:
Facebook accidentally set a "hate speech" button live on its platform for a short period of time, a company spokesperson confirmed in a statement Tuesday. The button asked users: "Does this contain hate speech?"
The spokesperson said the company was conducting an "internal test" in an attempt to understand "different types of speech, including speech we thought would not be hate." They said a bug caused the button to launch publicly but it has since been disabled.
The button showed up on all kinds of content. Even harmless posts like car ads and blessed kitty videos. Barging in unneeded like a paranoid mom. Mark Zuckerberg himself was subject to its keen eye.
This is tempting. https://t.co/jHT8GSSVnK— Rob Eno (@Rob Eno) 1525188152.0
The problem here is an obvious one. It's asking users to define an ambiguous term for which there is no set definition. Some of us - not naming names - may even make use of it as a temporary dislike button. Overly edited selfies? Hate speech. Your baby learned how to crawl? Hate speech. Old pyramid-scheming classmate is offering his FB friends a once in a lifetime opportunity to be their own boss?
I'm slammin' dat hate speech button, b*tch.
Hate speech is a subjective term. As Facebook is learning, asking billions of users "what offends you today?" isn't a reliable guide to sniffing out inappropriate content. It's why conservative videos which don't break any rules get flagged on YouTube. Ahem.
This button is a symptom of Facebook's hatred for diversity of opinion. The tech powers that be are proving themselves to be little more than internet thought police (see CENSORSHIP: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter Agree to Ban ‘Hate Speech’ in Europe). Thing is, these guys are just as fallible as the rest of us. Feast your eyes on the proof here. Their bias is consistent, yet they keep waving the banner of alleged political neutrality.
Facebook and friends enjoy huge influence over the internet. They largely control what content you can and cannot see. For a while now, we've been saying that's a problem. Looks like the censorship chickens are coming home to roost.