In Your Facebook

September 15th, 2016

You probably have heard of the latest dust up Facebook found itself in after the posting of a photo. The photo from 1972 is a naked, 9 year-old girl fleeing napalm bombs during the Vietnam War, total horror etched on her face. The photo won a Pulitzer Prize for spot news photography. A Norwegian author recently posted images about the terror of war including that photo to Facebook. However, Facebook removed it stating it violated its standards about nudity on the social network. A Norwegian newspaper cried foul over the photo removal, thousands responded by posting the photo on their Facebook page. Hours later, Facebook backed down and reinstated the photo. Facebook uses a combination of algorithms and human moderators to review photos that potentially break its rules. Recently, after taking flak for its “trending” news stories, Facebook eliminated human editors and let an algorithm decide which stories should trend and ended up promoting the fake story of a man masturbating with a chicken sandwich. After the author criticized the removal of his post he was barred from posting on Facebook for 24 hours. After he republished the photo on his page he was barred for another 3 days.

Several years ago I was confronted by the Facebook police. A listener had sent me a photo of a woman in a bathtub with her elbows on the side of the tub and because of the juxtaposition her elbows looked like breasts. I thought it was a funny picture so I posted it to my Facebook page. Within a few days all hell broke loose. Facebook threatened to remove my page permanently, as well as anyone connected to it that worked at the radio station. Remember, we’re talking elbows here. It finally got straightened out; no pages were removed, although the picture was. You may remember last year Facebook had to revise its community standards after photos of women breast-feeding were removed from their pages. When incidents like this happen I think of the movie The Social Network, and if it is to be believed, Mark Zuckerberg birthed Facebook by rating coeds- comparing some to farm animals. I guess somewhere along the way it went from being called Niceassbook to Facebook.

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