May 22, 2017

Leaked documents show how Facebook handles sensitive content

Alessio Jacona / Flickr cc

The Guardian reports that it has seen 100 internal "training manuals, spreadsheets and flowcharts" that show how Facebook's content moderators tackle content with violence, hate speech, terrorism, pornography, self-harm and racism in accordance to Facebook's community standards. Some of the documents showcase how sensitive and nuanced censoring content on Facebook's platform can be.

Why it matters: Facebook is in a lose-lose situation. If it doesn't filter its content, advertisers may not feel that their environments are brand-safe enough to run ads and users may feel that the platform is no longer a safe, inclusive or pleasant environment. If it does filter their content, they risk being blamed for judgement bias. For example, last Friday Facebook was criticized by pro-choice activists for removing the page of an organization that helps women obtain abortion pills. Facebook says it violated its policy against the "promotion or encouragement of drug use."

Key findings from The Guardian:

  • Facebook reviews more than 6.5 million reports a week relating to potentially fake accounts – known as FNRP (fake, not real person)
  • According to Facebook's standards, videos of violent deaths, while marked as disturbing, don't always have to be deleted because they can help create awareness of issues such as mental illness. Facebook generally removes videos that "Glorify" violence.
  • Videos of abortions are allowed, as long as there is no nudity.
  • Facebook will allow people to livestream attempts to self-harm because it "doesn't want to censor or punish people in distress."
  • Some photos of non-sexual physical abuse and bullying of children do not have to be deleted or "actioned" unless there is a sadistic or celebratory element.
  • All "handmade" art showing nudity and sexual activity is allowed but digitally made art showing sexual activity is not.
  • Anyone with more than 100,000 followers on a social media platform is designated as a public figure – which denies them the full protections given to private individuals.

Go deeper

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll nears 11,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the novel coronavirus surpassed 10,900 in the U.S. early Tuesday, per Johns Hopkins data. More than 1,000 people in the U.S. have died of coronavirus-related conditions each day since April 1.

Why it matters: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Sunday this week will be "the hardest and saddest week of most Americans' lives" — calling it our "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 41 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 1,347,803 — Total deaths: 74,807 — Total recoveries: 277,402Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 368,196 — Total deaths: 10,986 — Total recoveries: 19,828Map.
  3. Trump administration latest: President Trump's economic adviser Peter Navarro warned White House colleagues in late January the coronavirus could take over half a million American lives and cost close to $6 trillion, memos obtained by Axios show.
  4. 2020 update: Wisconsin Supreme Court blocks governor's attempt to delay in-person primary voting delayed until June.
  5. States latest: West Coast states send ventilators to New York and other states with more immediate need — Data suggest coronavirus curve may be flattening in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
  6. World update: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson moved to intensive care as coronavirus symptoms worsen.
  7. Stocks latest: The S&P 500 closed up 7% on Monday, while the Dow rose more than 1,500 points.
  8. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Docs: Navarro memos warning mass death circulated West Wing in January

Image from a memo to President Trump

In late January, President Trump's economic adviser Peter Navarro warned his White House colleagues the novel coronavirus could take more than half a million American lives and cost close to $6 trillion, according to memos obtained by Axios.

  • By late February, Navarro was even more alarmed, and he warned his colleagues, in another memo, that up to two million Americans could die of the virus.

Driving the news: Navarro's grim estimates are set out in two memos — one dated Jan. 29 and addressed to the National Security Council, the other dated Feb. 23 and addressed to the president. The NSC circulated both memos around the White House and multiple agencies.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - Health