back to article Jeez, we'll do something about Facebook murder vids, moans Zuckerberg

Stung by global criticism over murder videos on his sprawling web empire, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has promised to swell the ranks of his moderator army. "Over the last few weeks, we've seen people hurting themselves and others on Facebook – either live or in video posted later," Zuckerberg wrote in an update to his …

"sheer popularity"? I beg to differ.

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Anonymous Coward

So Zuck says it's heart breaking.

I actually find that offensive from someone who clearly doesn't care.

If he did then the first time any of the things mentioned in the article happened he would have done something straight away without being called out by the press and politicians to act. This is all down to money and shareholders, Facebook like any big corporation will only spend money when absolutely forced to.

Now we have 7,500 people moderating an active user base of 1.86 Billion, that's 1 person for every 248000 users and how many of the 7,500 can speak multiple languages?

So I reiterate my first point he doesn't care and is doing the bare minimum they can get away with.

After thinking about it I really don't see a way this can be fixed.

Sure you could throw 100,000 people at moderation but it's not enough 1 per 18600. (I think I got my math right here?)

Even then you are relying on a flawed reporting system, not every report is going to genuine, not every report is going to be something that needs to be removed.

Lets say you go with algorithms, great but then what happens when a film like "Suicide Squad" comes out or people start discussing a murder in local news?

I think the only way is to ban Facebook.

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I actually find that offensive from someone who clearly doesn't care.

Indeed, one does wonder how he'd feel about it if is was his life that was being impacted.

Now we have 7,500 people moderating an active user base of 1.86 Billion, that's 1 person for every 248000 users and how many of the 7,500 can speak multiple languages? So I reiterate my first point he doesn't care and is doing the bare minimum they can get away with. After thinking about it I really don't see a way this can be fixed. Sure you could throw 100,000 people at moderation but it's not enough 1 per 18600. (I think I got my math right here?)

The numbers Facebook are talking about do not stack up to a credible censorship capability. And I think you're right to focus on moderators-per-user. For all their talk about AI, smart filtering, etc, I can't believe that'll get anywhere close to being adequately accurate. A 1% error rate either way is a tremendous number of pissed off users, or a large amount of illegal material... To be anything like acceptable to the vast majority of ordinary users, these things are going to have to be tuned heavily on the side of "it's probably ok" when it comes to auto-moderation. And that'll just let a large % of the crap content remain.

It's going to require actual people to be in the loop to be any good.

I think the only way is to ban Facebook.

I think that'd be going too far. I think that forbidding such sites from operating without any real idea as to who a user actually is should be prohibitted. If a social network had the verified credit card details of all their users, the small minority intending to post illegal material would either i) not do it, or ii) be brought to account in the courts far more swiftly than is possible at present.

Many would argue that a formal financial arrangement between users and the social network operator would eliminate the spontaneity behind users signing up, and that would destroy Facebook. Well, so be it. Perhaps they should have picked a more sustainable business model.

Personally speaking I kinda yearn for the old days of Compuserve; a service you actually had to sign up to and pay for. Is it time for that kind of thing again? I mean, we're all paying for Facebook and Google through the prices of goods in the shops, etc. Someone has to pay for those adverts, and it's always the consumer. What's wrong with a paid for, advert free online service? Oh yeah, I forgot that when push comes to shove the majority of people are freetards... Still, perhaps it's an idea that could work once more.

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Anonymous Coward

Zuck is a psychopath. Any armchair analyst can see that. Lack of empathy or remorse, egotistical personality traits.

But he's succesful, so better put him on a pedestal and make him a role model.

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Keep in mind that most of those 1.86 billion "users" never actually post anything. I forget the exact fraction, but it's very large.

Identifying Facebook users wouldn't prevent these sorts of abuses. You think the police/authorities have any real difficulty identifying a Facebook user who posts a video of themself committing murder? I don't. "Evading arrest" is not part of their agenda, they're just angling for their 15 minutes of fame. That's how sick our culture is.

I think Facebook should (1) stop hosting video content entirely, (2) aggressively filter photos, and (3) impose a delay (of at least 30 minutes) between an update - any update, including pure text or links - being posted and it actually being visible online. I think that would change the psychological dynamic of posting something shocking.

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Anonymous Coward

Should we put data that behaves unethically in jail?

Data behaves, now! Facebook doesn't kill people, its data kills people.

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Hm. Facebook --

-- becoming 4chan's brother from another mother. IMHO, the fundamental difficulty is in the uses and abuses of the internet, and deeper, in the responsibilities and perils of hosting free speech anywhere. Knotty, as in Theseus.

(Disclaimer: I've been Facebook-free for many years, so I know nothing, really.)

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Not turtles its A'holes

" This is all down to money and shareholders,"

I think it's worse than that, I think it is also down to egos and a sense of superiority, not only Zuck's but all the way down.

They all think they are part of somethiing special that goes beyond mere rules and laws so consequently are reluctant to bow down to either the law or public opinion unless the reaction is extreme.

Farcebook is not the only one, Uber as another example has no sense of compassion either for it's 'Employees' or the customer, maybe they all take 'Disruptive ' too seriously.

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Re: Not turtles its A'holes

I think it is also down to egos and a sense of superiority, not only Zuck's but all the way down.

I agree with your premise, but I think the problem extends "all the way down" to users.

The root problem here is not that Facebook created a live streaming service; it's that there are people who think it's fun to torture and murder people for a live audience, and others who think it's fun to watch. It's amazing to me that Zuck et al are surprised that cruel assholes would use Facebook Live to live-stream cruel asshole things.

To be 100% clear: I'm in no way excusing Facebook of responsibility to deal with this thing that they have foisted on the world. But were they really that naive?

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Re: Not turtles its A'holes

Mr Dogbreath, I am inclined to agree with you, which indicates an extremely long and deep pile of arseholes to reach the bottom of human depravity.

I doubt that an ex Ivy League Spring Breaking college boy is that naive.

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Re: Not turtles, the root problem...

I agree. Public display of depraved cruelty is the root. What Facebook has given the depraved few is a multimedia platform that reaches millions. Upvote.

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Holmes

Morals are nothing but a distraction...

they are too close to Money in the dictionary to suit Facebook!

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Going back to the AOL model?

If you are worried about seeing bad things on Facebook/Youtube then stop using it!

If you are worried about your children seeing bad things, stop them using it!

If a significant proportion of "users" leave then Facebook/Youtube might have an incentive.

It doesn't take much effort to avoid offensive material on either of the big advertising networks.

Of course if either becomes a sterile walled garden of pre-approved content then I for one will go elsewhere. I still remember the AOL version of the Internet and will certainly not tolerate a curated internet.

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Re: Going back to the AOL model?

It's not so much the risk run by ordinary users (or their kids) of stumbling across bad things.

It's the fact that the people who post illegal things are effectively untraceable*, unhindered, unpunished, all of which leads them to being uninhibited. Account locked? Get another account. These people are of course exploiting the social networks for their own illegal purposes. However, Facebook / YouTube / Twitter, despite their public statements, seem quite happy to keep making money out of it as illustrated by their actual deeds (or lack of any action).

Of course if either becomes a sterile walled garden of pre-approved content then I for one will go elsewhere. I still remember the AOL version of the Internet and will certainly not tolerate a curated internet..

Well, perhaps AOL's prudishness was their downfall. Remeber that back in those days there was, at most, just one PC in a household, they had to offer a strictly family friendly experience.

Now that everyone has their own smartphone everyone can have their own account. And then a service would be able to offer a tailored experience to suit the age and tastes of the account holder. There would definitely be a market for a such a service that offered a rough-n-tumble forum that was guaranteed free of kids reading.

The closest thing to that there has ever been was the French Minitel service. That was nearly universal - the State provided everyone with a terminal I think. And there was some very, very diverse meeting rooms on that. Yet there was always a limit, a line beyond which you couldn't go; users were, ultimately, legally traceable.

* it's hard to go from an IP address to an actual, prosecutable ID.

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From the article:

Faced with global criticism yet again, Facebook did what it has done many times in the past, and continues to do today – most recently with fake news – without learning the lesson: it changed its policies on this one aspect and went on as before.

That's quite right, and it's a kinda damning observations about a lot of what happens in Silicon Valley: a lot of web outfits there are one-idea companies. They never have another original thought after that first idea.

Facebook could, if it wanted to, introduce a range of paid for services, with the side effect that people who know they are financially (and therefore legally) traceable are less inclined to post illegal material. That'd solve a lot of their problems immediately.

Now I wonder, what could those services be.... Instant messaging? They bought a successful paid-for one (Whatsapp), made it free, now struggling to make money from it. Films? No, beaten to that by Netflix. Shopping? No, Amazon got there first. News gathering & reporting (instead of page scraping)? Means actually forming a new news agency... TV? No, means creating something. Books? Kindle...

Basically what I'm pointing out is that, for some reason, Facebook is hell bent on following the low revenue, freetard friendly, ad funded business model no matter what, even transforming acquired successful businesses to that model. To my mind it's always going to be a limited way of making money. Sure, they come up with a couple of technical additions to their services, but there's more to business than a web site design style guide and freeloading over the top of someone else. It's far more profitable and sustainable to do something really good at an affordable price that people are falling over themselves to pay for, but Facebook don't seem to want to do business that way.

Google aren't much better. They make a lot of money from the freetard business model, but they're actually quite vulnerable to having their search revenue legislated out of existence in some parts of the world. Google do at least make stuff - Android (another area where they face serious legal difficulties related to monopoly positions), and you can actually pay for online services from Google (though why you'd want to is another matter).

As for Twitter...

Apple? Makes actual stuff, and sells it, done remarkably well despite not having had a worthwhile original idea for 10 years now. Amazon? Bit of a mix, but actually provides a useful service worth paying for, and also makes stuff / TV. Netflix? Worth paying for if that's your thing. MS/Office365? They're making good money out of those subscriptions, even if they have lost the plot on their core OS. These outfits seem devoid of any problems with their user base and business model sustainability, in a way that Facebook, Google and Twitter can only dream about.

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Google aren't much better. They make a lot of money from the freetard business model, but they're actually quite vulnerable to having their search revenue legislated out of existence in some parts of the world. Google do at least make stuff - Android (another area where they face serious legal difficulties related to monopoly positions), and you can actually pay for online services from Google (though why you'd want to is another matter)

If I may add I agree with everything you wrote apart from the above. Many businesses / schools use Google Hardware (Chromebooks) and software - ChromeOS, Android and pay for it. ChromeOS Chromebooks are probably the safest operating systems commerically avaliable for the mass market as an end device. Why would people pay for G suite? Have you ever used it? The collab features are hands down the best offering in the Enterprise market and office stuff is 80%+ of what businesses need for their staff.

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How is it they can be so quick to remove nudity

But it takes so long for them to remove a video of a guy hanging a baby? They've obviously got their priorities in the wrong places...

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Re: How is it they can be so quick to remove nudity

My guess is that FB's moderators simply "won't go there" with respect to what might be truly objectionable content, and since I suspect a daily quota of spit roasted babies and dismembered bodies is an unenforceable performance metric, the alerts languish in the reporting queue until enough accumulate to trigger an escalation to a specialist moderation unit, or, as we keep on seeing, the media gets hold of the story and forces action.

Now, given Facebook's boasts about how its algorithms can pigeonhole its users nine ways from Sunday, it should not be difficult for them to identify users who habitually seek out/view alertable content and cancel those accounts.

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Anonymous Coward

Here we go again

Facebook is ugly, because people are ugly. Like the band Slipknot says; People == Shit.

There are plenty of interesting and informative and entertaining things in the world, and if you avoid Facebook you would miss none of them. When they fail to provide a separate place to cater to the type of folks who really understand and enjoy things that were like the old alt.tasteless USENET group, then you're going to have problems.

Just make a part of Facebook for idiots and creeps, and another for regular people who just want to like your breakfast. Same thing with Twitter; carve out a place for the weirdos, the racists, the conservatives who claim to hate big government and love billionaires and big government, sports assholes, gun-dicks, gay bikers, lesbian hair gel aficionados, etc. Just make some smaller spaces for people to play and stop trying to be the fucking "global village." Global Village was a modem. It's dead. Leave it rot, idiots.

If you're such a frickin' baby that you need constant contact and approval from other idiots, you are not going to find solace on Facebook. And the Twitters of the world would have me return, if I can do my thing on a subset of their network. I don't want my crap sent to the world, just other weirdos. Is that too much to dev and roll out? Me thinks not. Perhaps charge a token payment to keep true shitheads off the service altogether. There are some people no one needs to hear from, ever.

The Zucks of the world can't figure out how to do that because it goes against their ideal global village where everyone shares stuff for free so advertisers, and the Zuck, can make money off of those jackasses, but at the same time pretend to give two shits about them. I don't. Zuck should try reality for a while. That VR headset is squashing what's left of his brain.

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Re: Here we go again

Your misanthropic musings and solutions are pointless and just sour moaning. Alt.Tasteless is still there if you want it but whats the fun in trying to wig out the unshockable? Nope, they all bailed out and went where they could horrify people who would genuinely be horrified, and if you set up a facebook horrible peoples ghetto no one would use it coz the shockable wouldn't go there and that's no fun for the horrid.

Not that I have any solutions. I fear that if we want the internet then humanities assholes will have to be accepted and dealt with as best we can.

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Re: Here we go again

"Just make a part of Facebook for idiots and creeps, and another for regular people who just want to like your breakfast."

Or, just do it yourself. It's not a public and open forum like Twitter, unless you want it to be. I use Facebook sparingly, mostly just to keep in contact with people I don't see very often. On the rare occasion I have a bit of a browse, I only see content from people I actually know. Mostly it's just gripes about bad days/ shopping/ traffic, pictures of friends' and families' kids or Instagram shares of meals, which is why I rarely use it. It used to be much more interesting than it is now.

But this also means I've never seen videos of baby murder on there. If I did have someone in my friends list who felt the need to post or share such a video, or who felt the need to go off on a racist rant etc., it wouldn't take long for me to hit the "unfriend" button. There would then be no need for moderation from above.

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LDS
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The very issue it the culture "WE CAN'T BE WRONG!"

The Vietnam photo shows it very well. People at Facebook couldn't admit their utter ignorance about a photo that made history, and stubbornly kept on trying to forbid it for the wrong reason - instead of acknowledging the mistake, apologize, and send whoever made it back to school - the whole decision chain.

A young hire for an ugly job may be quite clueless about the Vietnam war - but people above it have to know better. And all of them need to learn to be humble. But I'm quite sure that word is not understood in the Silly Con Valley.

So I just expect some damage control, some announcements, and little more. After all, they can't be wrong...

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Re: The very issue it the culture "WE CAN'T BE WRONG!"

What education and nationality are these censors? Hopefully each country is covered by locals.

I'm worried about the people wanting to see this sort of thing. We'll always have lunatics posting extreme videos.

About the only way to reduce this is to have a system where the poster of videos has to get approval from other FB friends.

But it's impossible to be effective whatever Facebook or governments decide. Just realise this.

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Must be a better way

Seems like there must be a way to us AI flag potentially violent videos. 3000 is a awful lot of employees and surely they will get bored fast.

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They don't care

The amount of blatantly racist videos I report go undealt with (a thank you but we've left that hateful shit up) message is what I get whenever I report anything, system blows

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Re: They don't care

It is odd that I don't know anyone at all who has reported a thing to Facebook and been told that it would be taken down.

Even in cases where it contained explicit threats of violence.

Yet I do know several people who have had their photos taken down because of "nudity".

Quite clearly, Facebook love death, murder and hatred but cannot stand nudity in any form.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: They don't care

Is it an American cultural thing? At the risk of a wild generalisation, a place where its OK to shoot people as long as you can't see their nipples when you film it?

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I really don't understand how Facebook is not blocked in the EU

The facts are quite clear. Their service is used to display content deemed both offensive and illegal to the public

Images and videos of Murder\Rape\Torture and Terrorism, all are hosted by facebook's servers

If I had a server that had offensive content publicly available , I would be in jail.

On top of this, facebook doesn't pay any tax or even have much in the way of staff headcount to mitigate against that..

Maybe we should not be looking at facebook, but at the bank accounts of those in our governments who are in the position to shut them down

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Facepalm

Well who'd a done thunk it!

You offer people a video portal for self-expression and they upload inappropriate material.

The second I saw this idea to allow live streaming to Facebook it was obvious some absolute twats were going to abuse it and so it has been proven. The only way to stop this sort of thing is to stop the live stream shite, allow people to upload videos but quarantine them until someone has checked them.

People are for the most part sensible and well adjusted, however there is a large contingent of nutjobs out there that think live streaming abuse of animals, kids and partners is entertainment for others and they're going to find any way they can to "show off" to their peers.

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Anonymous Coward

Let's not address the real problem, shall we?

"I've been reflecting on how we can do better for our community."

Closing Facebook, obviously, but that is probably not on the cards. Oh well, we can but hope..

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