Washington Post: Social media companies are outsourcing their dirty work to the Philippines. A generation of workers is paying the price.. “A year after quitting his job reviewing some of the most gruesome content the Internet has to offer, Lester prays every week that the images he saw can be erased from his mind. First as a contractor for YouTube and then for Twitter, he worked on a high-up floor of a mall in this traffic-clogged Asian capital, where he spent up to nine hours each day weighing questions about the details in those images. He made decisions about whether a child’s genitals were being touched accidentally or on purpose, or whether a knife slashing someone’s neck depicted a real-life killing — and if such content should be allowed online.”
The Verge: How do you fix Facebook moderation? Figure out what Facebook is. “Despite years of warnings from academics, sociologists, and civic society advocates about the potential harm of unleashing technologies with minimal understanding of their impacts, social media companies unabashedly continue to espouse utopian visions. Tech powers continue to advertise products with promises of magic and awe. These products often come with little to no safety or privacy protocols against the potential for amplifying long-standing exploitation and violence. Facebook markets Facebook Live as ‘a fun, engaging way to connect with your followers and grow your audience.’ That may be how the majority of users use the product, but a quick Google search of Facebook Live turns up pages of headlines about live-streamed suicide, murder, and rape.”
New York Times: Snapchat Discover Takes a Hard Line on Misleading and Explicit Images . “The new rules more explicitly restrict publishers from posting questionable pictures on Discover that do not have news or editorial value. Snapchat also clarified guidelines that prevent publishers from including reports or links to outside websites that could be considered fake news, saying that all content must be fact-checked and accurate.”
The Daily Beast: Microsoft Anti-Porn Workers Sue Over PTSD. Terrible headline. “When former Microsoft employees complained of the horrific pornography and murder films they had to watch for their jobs, the software giant told them to just take more smoke breaks, a new lawsuit alleges.” I’m linking to this here because apparently Mechanical Turk workers also sometimes have to look at graphic and disturbing imagery, and they don’t even have the HR protections to file a lawsuit – at least I wouldn’t think they do because they’d be considered contract workers. Horrifying.
Facebook wants to police its livestreams with AI. “Facebook is working on automatically flagging offensive material in live video streams, building on a growing effort to use artificial intelligence to monitor content, said Joaquin Candela, the company’s director of applied machine learning.”
Dennis Cooper is getting his blog back. “Artist and author Dennis Cooper re-launched his popular blog on Monday after months of legal disputes with Google, who many accused of censorship. The artist posted a message on the blog’s Facebook account on Friday to explain Google’s reasoning for erasing his 14-year-old blog, which housed a gif novel he was working on.”
Snapchat is being sued for hosting sexually-explicit content. “Celebrity lawyer Mark Geragos filed the suit, stating that the social media company does not do enough to protect minors from accessing sexual content inside the app. He particularly raises concerns about contents on Discover like ‘People share their secret rules for sex’ and ’10 things he thinks when he can’t make you orgasm,’ which the lawsuit considers as “adult-rated content that parents would likely prohibit” had they known the app hosts such content.”