A bug in the Facebook anti-spam system mistakenly eliminated legitimate news stories and also other posts. The system miscategorized them as violating content. So, many users complained that their posts, including some regarding the Coronavirus outbreak were taken down. Instead, a notice appeared that read: “This post goes against our community standards on spam.”
The Facebook anti-spam system
As an explanation, Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice-president of integrity, posted a Tweet saying that this was a bug in an anti-spam system.
Afterwards, he tweeted a new message in which he said that all content incorrectly removed had been restored. This also included “posts on all topics – not just those related to Covid-19”.
“This was an issue with an automated system that removes links to abusive websites, but incorrectly removed a lot of other posts too,” Rosen mentioned.
This month, the social media giant also decided to ban ads for protective face masks. Thus, Facebook said that this would be an effort to prevent overcharging during the outbreak. Also, Facebook shared contagion prevention tips on Instagram’s home page.
Facebook struggles to keep our walls clean
Facebook’s platform is largely used during this Covid-19 crisis, both by news organizations and non-profits. News organizations are sharing tips about protection against the virus. On the other hand non-profits are raising money for people and businesses impacted by the quarantine orders. So, Facebook should now, more than ever, keep information flowing properly.
For this reason, the company decided to send misinformation to fact-checkers, for review. So, Facebook has been working with 56 fact-checking partners in no less than 46 languages. These people have to label fake news and alert users who read or share it.
But, sometimes, its efforts fail. This is also the case with the bug in the Facebook anti-spam system, which does not always work properly.
In fact, Mark Zuckerberg announced some of the steps he is taking via the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, to respond to the spread of the Coronavirus and viral misinformation about the illness`.