Facebook Solicits User Feedback on How to Tackle Issues Like Censorship and Terrorism (Jun 15, 2017)
A while back, Facebook said it would be soliciting user feedback on its policies for moderation and censorship around thorny issues like terrorism and freedom of speech, and it’s now putting a program in place to begin doing this in earnest. It has listed some of those thorny questions on its website and also launched its first debate, on terrorism, separately. On paper, getting user feedback on these issues seems a great way to absolve itself from the role of arbiter or gatekeeper of what’s allowed on Facebook – it’s also said in the past that it wants to be sensitive to local cultural norms around these things rather than having a single global policy, which seems sensible. But the most likely outcome is a range of views expressed and real division around some of these issues, which means Facebook will still have to come down on one side or the other, and will now do so explicitly going against the stated views of many of its users. This is definitely a double-edged sword. In addition, as we’ve seen from the recent FCC comment process around net neutrality, such large-scale public feedback projects are easily hijacked by groups, so Facebook will have to work hard to sift the wheat from the chaff here. On balance, I think this is a positive step, but I worry that it will be really tough for Facebook to execute on its vision here without dealing with some real challenges in implementation.
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