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Facebook’s Kenosha Guard Militia Event Was Reported 455 Times But Moderators Deemed It Fine

Ryan Mac, reporting for BuzzFeed News:

In a companywide meeting on Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that a militia page advocating for followers to bring weapons to an upcoming protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, remained on the platform because of “an operational mistake.” The page and an associated event inspired widespread criticism of the company after a 17-year-old suspect allegedly shot and killed two protesters Tuesday night.

The event associated with the Kenosha Guard page, however, was flagged to Facebook at least 455 times after its creation, according to an internal report viewed by BuzzFeed News, and had been cleared by four moderators, all of whom deemed it “non-violating.” The page and event were eventually removed from the platform on Wednesday — several hours after the shooting.

“To put that number into perspective, it made up 66% of all event reports that day,” one Facebook worker wrote in the internal “Violence and Incitement Working Group” to illustrate the number of complaints the company had received about the event.

So it’s not like this event got lost in the firehose of Facebook’s massive scale. It actually dominated Facebook’s reporting mechanism.

As Mac reported separately, employees are protesting and asking Zuckerberg tough but obvious questions:

“At what point do we take responsibility for enabling hate filled bile to spread across our services?” wrote one employee. “[A]nti semitism, conspiracy, and white supremacy reeks across our services.”

The answer, apparently, is at no point. Mac’s piece concludes:

One employee who spoke with BuzzFeed News after the event was not comforted by their CEO’s words. “He seems truly incapable of taking personal responsibility for decisions and actions at Facebook,” they said.

I’m past the point where I could look past a stint at Facebook on a job applicant’s resume. Trying to get a job at a legitimate tech company after staying at Facebook through 2020 will be like trying to get a job at a legitimate news publication after a stint at Fox News.

Saturday, 29 August 2020