The Real Story Behind Facebook Moderation and Your Petty Reports
Imagine going to work every day and at the start of your day, with your first cup of coffee, you sit down to glance at beheadings, children in the process of being raped, human bodies in various stages of decomposition, the living and dead results of domestic violence, hanging bodies of 10 year old boys accused of being gay, real-life snuff films and bloody dog fighting rings and their subsequent results. Can you think up a human horror? I’ve probably seen it or a picture or video of something very similar. It’s fair to say that some of the people who work around me do not fare so well. Often they end up suffering from the endless barrage of horror they witness 8 to 12 hours per day. Did I share that *most* of these people make around a dollar per hour to do this job? That’s the truth. Not me though. I am an American who demands rights and all, so I make approximately $29 dollars per hour more than them. Technically, I don’t even have to do anymore than make sure they are clicking the buttons in the correct order. I don’t have to look at the images, but most of the time my focus on remaining unbiased in the face of, makes me do so anyway.
It’s Not All Blood and Guts, Sometimes it’s Worse
Not all of the information that Facebook moderators are privy to is as horrifying as the end results mention above, some are worse. The terror in those is that they are the calls of those whose private horrors, abuse or murders are currently in process. True cries for help come from FB users every day, all day long. Facebook moderators spend a significant part of each workday forwarding ‘acts in progress’ to the authorities local to those accounts. When those accounts are legitimate (not ghosted or proxies) those reports can and do save people’s lives. That is probably the number one reason why many traumatized by the visual horrors still stick around.
Still no ‘love’ for the people who may have banned you once before? Try to understand that for the most part, your bannings are carried out by an automatic algorithm and only a very small percentage of them handled by an actual person. Why is this? While Facebook can boast that they have nearly 1.5 billion users this year, the impressive feat is that they have 1.2 billion active users who log in nearly every day. Each one of those people have a different level of what offends them.
Considering all of these things, I’d like to tell you what offends me. It offends me that nearly 80% of the manual reports I have to read are from people who find themselves offended by something. A recent list of offenses include: (Translated from the the poor excuses for grammar and spelling most of them arrive in)
- “I don’t believe in this coin. It goes against what I believe in.”
- “This fish doesn’t look like a fish, it looks like a man’s private parts, and I have small children around me during the day.”
- “I saw this on my feed and I do not approve please take it off.”
- “This page shared my picture without credit or permission.”
- “Can you remove this picture I don’t like it.”
- This is not true, my God would never let this happen.
Now, forgive me or not, but personally I can assure you of this. In the face of the actual reportable issues that come in at the rate of 250k per hour, I really don’t give a shit if coins offend you, or if you can’t keep your ass off Facebook while you babysit the neighborhood children. What I care about, what really, truly fucking offends me is the fact that after 5 hours of reading through your butthurt sob stories, I find the 7 year old girl who, too scared to tell an authority has figured out how to report a picture her uncle posted of her that was blatantly, obviously sexual, and begged for help. “He says he’s coming over today at 2. Can you please help me, I don’t know what to do.”
If You Think Your Biggest Problems on Facebook are Photos or Statuses that Offend You – You Have No Idea How Often I Eye Your Account for Deletion
Thanks to your delicate sensibilities, I didn’t get to read her report until it was 5 her time. Four hours ago I could have possibly prevented another one of her rapes. I could have had the police waiting for him when he arrived at her house. Four hours from now I’ll probably cry myself to sleep because I didn’t get to. Thanks again, to people who obviously need to stay the fuck off of the internet. Why did her report not come up faster? Because she’s seven, she reported the picture as a lesser offense that reported properly would have bumped it up the queue past all of your cries of visual injustice. Those pieces of ugliness that are top-o-the-queue every morning.
Get over your narcissism. Your shabby reasons behind reporting shit are not just offensive but harmful in many cases. When I was a kid, we didn’t have a way to communicate instantly with people all over the world. We didn’t have a friend on the other side of the earth who cared enough to call the police for us when we were in trouble. And yet so many of you are bent on warping the capabilities of social networking into a crying game at a level that cannot even be remotely handled by 100K + people working 8 to 12 hours a day. Technology gave you an open stage in front of the world and some of you have used it in the old pigeon shitting on the chessboard fashion. You should be ashamed, but as one of your moderators, I can clearly see you are not.
Before I go I want to share some of the most frequently asked questions:
“Can someone see my private messages?” Yes. “Even those pictures I….” Yes.
However, no one is sitting around getting their rocks off on your accounts inbox messages. The only times these are observed for any reason is when an account ID, *your facebook ID number* shows up repeatedly on reports that mention harassment or other issues that would require a mod to delve into to get the truth before banning or calling the police. It’s a requirement you should appreciate, trust me. If we didn’t, half of you would be in prison right now.
“Why did Facebook never respond to my report or my ban issue?”
I’ll be blunt here. Overtaxed system, automatic algo ignored you. OR, not enough fucks given about your issue if manually modded.
Does Facebook even see appeals or emails sent about my page or personal issue?
Again, bluntly, no. Facebook keeps and sometimes rotates out, one-single appeal email address that lands on someone’s list of things-to-do. The rest of them just reply with automated messages about how they might help, they might not. They won’t.
“Will you see it when I report this post?”
Yes, but go ahead, you might as well add to the problem. I’ll have to remove it too, because I didn’t refrain from cursing but hey, fuck you.
I wish I could answer more questions, but I’m not going to give up the opportunities I have to level the playing field as far as some of the incredulous reasons behind why some good page owners get banned or get their pages removed unjustly. That happens a lot and that’s probably going to get worse before it gets better. It would probably help if some of you would revert back to crying to your mothers instead of to Facebook’s moderation system.
*Edit – Update
I would like to sincerely thank all of the people who have extended kind comments, understanding and their own hands and time to help in any way they can. Because of overwhelming request I would like to offer this. I have created a page on Facebook, added it to the right hand side of the blog so you can Like from there, or just click here. I have made this as a sort of landing page. I am going to make a quick post about this so that anyone that wants to help can certainly feel free to join that page. Thanks again for your great responses to this issue!
- The Dark Side of Facebook
- Inside Facebook’s Outsourced Anti-Porn and Gore Brigade, Where ‘Camel Toes’ are More Offensive Than ‘Crushed Heads’
- How Facebook Outsources Nudity Patrol