Category Archives: Facebook is not a search engine

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 facebook_2349612bthose 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.

No. No it isn't.

No. No it isn’t.

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!

Additional Sources:


Facebook is a Good Place to Encourage Activism and Share Knowledge but Facebook is NOT a Public Forum

You are probably here because you are a part of, or currently watching some bullshit argument on Facebook about how doing something on Facebook matters, or worse yet, doing something on Twitter instead, does not. Please take the time to understand the very basic facts between Facebook and Twitter. Googlebot and Indexing play a huge part in this process.

Before you can truly understand what indexing means, you need a basic understanding of what it means to even be crawled.

Search Engine Crawling and Indexing

I’m not going to teach this full 101 to anyone, I’d rather give a short breakdown in basic terms most people should be able to understand. If you want to know more, details, reality, statistics, algorithm’s, you are welcome to spend the years it has taken me to learn it myself. Otherwise, here is a very short and crude understanding.

Every time new and publicly accessible content goes up on the net, whether on blogs, websites, or open forums, that information sits, fresh and clean, and undetectable by such things as plagiarism checkers or any search tools, until the web crawlers, also known as spiders, (also now known as GoogleBot) make their rounds around the net. Web crawlers are mainly used to create a copy of all the visited pages for later processing by a search engine that will index the downloaded pages to provide fast searches.

Search engine indexing collects, parses, and stores data to facilitate fast and accurate information retrieval. Index design incorporates interdisciplinary concepts from linguistics, cognitive psychology, mathematics, informatics, physics, and computer science. An alternate name for the process in the context of search engines designed to find web pages on the Internet is web indexing.

Facebook

Want your Facebook updates to stay off of Google?

If that’s a concern, you needn’t worry. Only people who have changed their privacy settings to Public will have their content show up in Google. Facebook would like you to change that setting, but you don’t need to worry about your private content being sold to Google without your opting-in by changing your settings.

If Facebook is able to prod more users into sharing more content publicly, then it could rival Twitter in importance among real-time sources. Facebook has approximately 10 times as many users as Twitter today, but the fact that its default privacy setting is private means far less content is available for indexing. In addition to a potential for greater quantity, Facebook also holds far more personal information about its users, meaning that search tactics like personalization and localization would have more data points to process.

Public pages, like Facebook or when you turn on the search engine friendly option on your WordPress panel will make pages, contents and the links search engine friendly and easy to be crawled. In that case, using a few links from already indexed web resources would be enough to ensure the FB pages would get indexed and crawled constantly.

The private settings on the other hand will make your contents hidden from most search engines and web crawlers. In that case, even the addition of links to the content will not help that much since the content will still only be accessible to authorized people. (Your friends list)

The Proof is STILL Not in Facebook

Ever go looking for images through Google? If so, you will notice that you never find one single Meme, Photo, or Post in Google with a URL from Facebook. That is because of all of the above. Want to test further? Head to any image on your Facebook wall right now.

You there? Good, your URL will still reflect a Facebook or FB in the string.

Now, click on F5. Got it? Good, now you have the post opened up, down to the nitty gritty.

Still have a Facebook URL? Yes, you do. Now, right-click on the image itself and select “Copy Image Location.”

And paste it into another browser window, a word document, text pad, anywhere. Now, what do you have? What you do NOT have is a Facebook URL. You do have Facebook’s secure photo server address, and yet anything on this URL, also, not making it to any search engines. And for the last time, that is because content from Facebook is NOT indexed by search engines. At best, if you make your account a public one, the only thing you will ever find on a search engine is the link to your Facebook profile.

Facebook Activism, Debate & Entertainment

Unfortunately, because of the privacy issues, or walled compound that Facebook is, activities that are limited to Facebook, on Facebook, such as status posting, thread commenting, picture sharing, and note writing will not be shared with a random person who searches for the topic at hand from a search engine. In that sense, this eliminates Facebook as a true source of activism outside of Facebook itself. No one looking for information on a topic is going to locate a Facebook Fan page or Personal Page link because someone mentioned those things. It is singularly restrictive to any outside growth. Unless, you are aggregating all of your Facebook content manually, or with various tools and plug ins.

Behind the Compound Wall

After all, one of the many reasons to be active against a cause is to help build up YOUR side of the story, the cause, and to do that, you have to have content that is competitive with whomever you oppose. This means blogs, Web 2.0 sites, YouTube videos, and even other digital content such as slide-shares, radio shows, or even digital TV. Placed on the web they become immediate competition when used with the combination of good SEO practices + high quality content, regardless of that content’s platform.

Debate

There are some truly great debate sites on Facebook. I enjoy one known as Atheists vs Religion quite often. While technically AvR has no more claim to being an element of ‘online activism’ directly, any good debate site, inside or outside the walled compound of Facebook should be considered a positive attribute, a contribution of information and education. A welcoming debate site that has users and admins who seek answers, learn new questions, share unbiased resources, and encourage free-thinking from all angles might be considered a form of “grouptivism.” Knowledge sharing – a collective breakdown of the topic at hand focused on entertainment as well as encouragement to like-minded users and open to those who want to oppose them.

Unbridled Sharing Power Still Makes Facebook and it’s 1 Billion Users an Impressive Digital Change Maker

Aside from the fact that Facebook doesn’t get indexed, there is literally nothing else to stop it from helping to enact change on just about any topic. Users can and do share important and often up-to-the-minute news and updates in just about any imaginable realm or topic.  That doesn’t even count the endless petition shares, additional blogs or websites attached to Facebook profiles, groups and fan pages, and the general awareness that it provides to any and all of the 1 billion users each day.

Twitter

The usefulness of Twitter is not readily as obvious to some people as Facebook; although it may be more addictive once you get the hang of Tweeting; you get more immediate responses and it seems to live somewhere between the worlds of email, instant messaging and blogging. Twitter encourages constant “linking out” to anywhere and, in that respect, is more analogous to a pure search engine; another way to find people and content all over the Net.

Personally, I hate Twitter. And I have always been hard put find an accurate way to describe it to the masses who also hate it. But in a conversation online recently, (On Facebook), when another user admitted they really were not sure how Twitter worked, another friend made this reference that is actually an apt way to describe in very basic crude terms how Twitter works.

You leave a message on Twitter (the bathroom wall) and then like minded folks (those using the same bathroom) will see the message, remember it, maybe share it. You already share something in common with them, from the choice/type/industry/topic of the establishment that houses the bathroom, down to the gender, if in fact there are separate bathrooms for both genders. This is scraping the bare essence of demographics, but very primitively.

How Does This Differ from Facebook?

Aside from the fact that Facebook is default private, and when public only shows your public profile, Facebook is mostly limited to your family, Facebook friends, friends of Facebook friends, and other acquaintances you may have picked up from around Facebook or other networks. Connections can be limited by your choice of profile and privacy settings in addition to the compound wall constantly surrounding your account.

Twitter is open to the public, except in very specific cases where a user may have blocked their feed to another user, Twitter is an open book. Type in your keywords, #hashtags, famous names, anything and you are given an endless list of 140 character blurbs from all over the globe. Opinions, news, and rumors abound.

Is Twitter a Genuine Tool for Online Activism?

Yes and effectively if used correctly, more powerful when used en mass. There are many instances, statistics, case studies, info-graphics that show that Twitter IS an exceptional tool for its many reasons alone, but also one that has, can and will continue to force changes in some spectrums previously untouched. Political scandal has been one of those instances. Remember when Weiner showed his Weiner on Twitter? Five years ago, Twitter was hardly a blip on the political radar. Now, it’s a social media giant. President Obama recently urged college students to take to Twitter and pressure their representatives on student loan interest rates.

Twitter users can interact with one another in two primary public ways: retweets and mentions. Retweets act as a form of endorsement, allowing individuals to rebroadcast content generated by other users, thereby raising the content’s visibility.

Mentions function differently, allowing someone to address a specific user directly through the public feed, or, to a lesser extent, refer to an individual in the third person. These two means of communication —retweets and mentions— serve distinct and complementary purposes, together acting as the primary mechanisms for explicit, public user-user interaction on Twitter.

In Conclusion

The walled compound of Facebook means that what happens on Facebook tends to stay on Facebook. For the most part, none of the content produced on Facebook is repurposed out amongst the blogsphere, this along with a limited volume of daily updates as compared to Twitter, makes Facebook of lesser value to Google from a fresh content perspective.

Twitter however seems to be built to be one giant piece of Google bait. With a fixed field for communication and a feel like that of an instant messaging service, where each message becomes a linkable page, Twitter has developed a massive user generated content system for whatever the Twitter audience might be discussing.

Resources:

  1. Twitter vs Facebook
  2. How to Get Facebook Comments Indexed
  3. Facebook Will Be Google-able (If Your Profile is Set to Public)
  4. Facebook Wants You to Be Less Private – But Why?
  5. Facebook the Walled Garden, Twitter Anything But
  6. Snopes – Facebook Indexing Myth Revealed
  7. Did Anthony Weiner Tweet a Picture of His Weiner?
  8. Twitter: From Infancy To Political Powerhouse
  9. Political Polarization on Twitter

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