Facebook accused of protecting far-right activists that broke site rules

Facebook’s “shielded review” process allowed far-right pages to continue, a documentary says.


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Facebook allegedly protected the pages of far-right activists from deletion despite their owners engaging in behavior that warranted moderation, a documentary says.

Pages are normally deleted if they contain five or more items violating Facebook’s code of conduct, but Channel 4’s Dispatches series reports that popular ones are protected by “shielded review,” according to the Guardian.

The documentary Inside Facebook: Secrets of a Social Network, scheduled to air Tuesday night, cites the pages of English far-right activist Tommy Robinson and the Britain First party as examples that repeatedly broke the social media site’s rules, but were left up.

Individual pieces of content are removed, the documentary reportedly notes, but the pages remain since “they have a lot of followers so they’re generating a lot of revenue for Facebook.”

On Tuesday, the social media giant responded to the documentary in a blog post, where it noted that the moderation trainers in its Dublin office have been re-trained and this will be mirrored worldwide.

“It’s clear that some of what is in the program does not reflect Facebook’s policies or values and falls short of the high standards we expect,” the company wrote. “We take these mistakes incredibly seriously and are grateful to the journalists who brought them to our attention. We have been investigating exactly what happened so we can prevent these issues from happening again.”

Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for further comment.

The pages of Britain First and its leaders were taken down in March, and Facebook noted in 2017 that it removes about 66,000 posts a week — around 288,000 monthly — due to what it considers hateful rhetoric.

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