did someone muck with the backend here

Re: Guest Post: FaceShit

1

India was very smart to send Free Basics packing two years ago.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 8:27 AM
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I liked this article by Sheera Frenkel about internet use in Myanmar

"This is all anybody buys," said Mai Thu Sien, a 19-year-old salesman. He didn't seem bothered to be squeezed onto a street bustling with other shops selling exactly the same thing. "There are many customers for phones. People buy and buy."

For the equivalent of $3, Mai Thu Sien sets up an email address, opens up a Facebook account in any name the customer wants, and sends them on their way. When asked whether customers choose their own email address, Mai Thu Sien looked confused. "Nobody asks, they don't care about the email," he said, explaining that most don't know that creating an email address is free, and easy. "No one is using that. They have Facebook."

If they forget their login information, or get signed out, they simply come in for a new Facebook account. Of the dozens of people interviewed by BuzzFeed News in Myanmar, all said they had more than one Facebook account. None knew about Facebook's policy that users must use their real names.

Two days after she bought her phone, Shar Ya Wai sent a text message saying that she'd opened up an account and was adding friends.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 8:54 AM
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I blame all of you who post stuff on Facebook instead of here for making me use Facebook.

Also, if Facebook did decide to hire a whole bunch of Burmese-speaking moderators, how could they know the didn't just hire a bunch of pro-genocide people? The government of Myanmar is trying to kill/drive off the Rohingya and has clearly been able to get large numbers of people to carry out this task. Finding a enough applicants for the moderator positions so that Facebook would have trouble hiring a moderator not on their side seems like an easier task than finding somebody willing to shoot a five-year-old.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 8:59 AM
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FB cites the total absence of 3rd-party Burmese fact checking organizations as a cause of their total non-moderation.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 9:01 AM
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5

Which is to say, yes.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 9:01 AM
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4: I saw that, but I figured the problem was worse than that. You don't need a fact-checking organization to do something like delete all posts calling for violence. But you do need a moderator who doesn't want ethnic cleansing to happen.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 9:06 AM
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There are some options if you don't trust your local staff, but they aren't great. A shitty ML translation plus sentiment analysis could work, just as a first pass.

And it's a bit playing with fire, but you could generate some fake offensive posts and see if they get filtered.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 9:10 AM
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I guess that doesn't really have to be playing with fire since you could have them appear only in the moderation queue but never in actual real FB space. The problem seems like what you'd do if you wanted to ferret out a mole in your organization.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 9:13 AM
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I'm sure it isn't an impossible problem. I just think it might take longer to solve that problem that it would take to finish an ethnic cleansing campaign.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 9:16 AM
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10

Anyway, I think maybe pulling the plug on the whole country might have been the only effective option.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 9:17 AM
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None knew about Facebook's policy that users must use their real names.

If a person set up an account as "Faceless Friendless" translated into Burmese, Facebook couldn't tell that this wasn't the person's real name.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 9:18 AM
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I would be surprised if they don't already have similar systems to determine whether moderators in less sensitive regions are doing a good job. I suspect it's a question of will, not ability.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 9:19 AM
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13

True, but there aren't that many places where the language is so highly specific to the county and the country so secluded for so long.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 9:20 AM
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In Myanmar, this is both a bottom-up and also a top-down (fg management on top) problem. Frenkel's article details how Burmese interact with the extremely new-to-them internet. That mode of interaction with some vocal hostility online is pretty volatile in the best circumstances. On top of that, fb management are strongly not-so-best circumstances.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 9:24 AM
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There are Burmese people in our neighborhood; we used to have a Burmese-run restaurant, for that matter. And Google Translate has Burmese as an option. Determining whether a given person is genocidal or not shouldn't be that hard, and it becomes easier as you build up more trust.

But I think you make a good point in 10, and Facebook should consider it.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 9:25 AM
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12. They do not have systems in place to determine if posts that contain lists of credit card numbers are removed.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 9:26 AM
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16: I admit, I'm making the incorrect assumption that Facebook doesn't suck.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 9:28 AM
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15: I had no idea. I knew there was something of a diaspora, but I figured they were all connected to Aung San Suu Kyi and wouldn't do much if she didn't care to do anything.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 9:28 AM
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Why would you post list of credit card numbers? I can see why you'd try to sell them, but posting them seems pointless.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 9:30 AM
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18: I'm probably oversimplifying, but the family that ran Zaw's (peace be upon them, and their glorious coconut curries) were from Myanmar. But they might be Sino-Burmese. Still, I would think they'd be exposed to the language.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 9:31 AM
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I found the articles about internet in Myanmar pretty illuminating for understanding facebook social dynamics here. I recently got refriended by a high-school acquaintance who posts a fair number of shouty anti-muslim links. Emotional images with a short caption are the way to "communicate"


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 9:34 AM
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Diasporans aren't necessarily that much more reliable than the locals. Dictatorships can find ways to coerce them as well. Also, Burma has a lot more than one language.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 9:36 AM
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19. Marketing teaser I think. https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/9kgjme/facebook-hosted-stolen-identities-and-social-security-numbers


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 9:37 AM
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24

America does too, but nearly everybody who is trouble can just speak the one.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 9:37 AM
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23: Your first fraud is on the house.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 9:37 AM
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I don't have any particular attraction to Aung San Suu Kyi but I don't think it makes sense to act like the Aung San Suu Kyi faction is the extremist anti-Rohingya faction. My impression is that thanks to everyone now getting their news from Facebook memes, eradicating the Rohingya has the support of about 95% of the majority ethnic group over there, and most of those Facebook memes don't come from the government or they come from the military, which still controls quite a lot of the government although the head of the military is not the head of state anymore.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 9:46 AM
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27

I don't think she's extremist. I just think that "not denying obvious ethnic cleansing" is a pretty low bar for somebody with a Peace Prize. Unless you figure Kissinger is the modal winner.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 9:48 AM
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26:

The day after Shuna was found dead, someone representing the state counsellor of Myanmar (Aung San Suu Kyi's official title) posted a photo of a headless body on the office's Facebook page, stamped with the words "Truth teller BEHEADED". The post claimed Shuna had told the media that security forces had not committed rape or arson, and suggested he was killed by "Muslim insurgents" in retaliation. That directly contradicted local reports, activists and Shuna's family, who believe he was abducted and beheaded by security forces for speaking to journalists.
I don't know how extremist she is personally, but she is deeply implicated.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 9:51 AM
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29

Link.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 9:52 AM
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30

It's pretty goddamn interesting as a problem.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 10:43 AM
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31

I mean, I spend a lot of my life making arguments about free speech problems, in super conventional ways (i.e., the post 1960s US conventions) and Facebook seems in a lot of ways to upend prior assumptions. I *feel* like this is a bigger change than confronting television or radio, but maybe it's not. But I honestly don't know how to think about FB, other than a feeling that different rules, whatever they are, need to apply.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 10:53 AM
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32

Value add -- low.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 10:54 AM
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33

31: Think out loud? What are those conventions? What prior assumptions are they based on?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 10:57 AM
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34

Nah, it's too much like work


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 10:58 AM
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35

Assume a spherical Constitution and that the answer to bad speech is more speech.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 11:12 AM
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36

The problem of finding good faith moderators is very interesting and all that, but it's kind of tangential to the real problem. The dissemination of tabloidy, hateful material is inherent to Facebook's business model. They rely on their users to manufacture their own clickbait. That's why their algorithms promote the most-clicked posts.

The effect of this is to promote the spread of ideas with base, lowest common denominator appeal. You won't believe what crooked thing Hillary has done now! Look at what these Muslims did to this child! Let me stimulate your emotions, for fuck's sake click me click me!

So, yeah, I'm sure Facebook deeply regrets that they've got an actual genocide on their hands, but it's not like the same phenomenon isn't going on everywhere,. It's how they designed it.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 11:21 AM
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37

I thought they designed it so that undergraduates could sexually harass each other.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 11:24 AM
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38

36 gets it right. This, from the "Interpreter" newsletter put out by the NY Times, is a good summary of the problem.

Facebook's newsfeed, for instance, runs on an algorithm that promotes whatever content wins the most engagement. We know from studies that negative, primal emotions -- fear, anger -- draw the most engagement. Posts that provoke those emotions rise naturally. We also know that tribalism -- a universal human tendency -- draws heavy engagement. Posts that indulge your group identity by attacking another group tend to perform really well. Finally, we know that social media platforms are designed to use color and sound to reward engagement, which humans naturally seek out. Each comment and like is presented like a set of diamonds clicking into place on a slot machine. It delivers a little dopamine boost, training you to repeat whatever behavior gets the most engagement. And nothing delivers a dopamine hit like posting something that will draw out tendencies toward angry, fearful tribalism.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 11:44 AM
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39

In the radio broadcasts that coordinated the genocide in Rwanda they used a fair amount of code language. Not sure if even FB moderators working with good intentions could reliably filter out a bunch of people making "Go to work!" go viral.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 11:46 AM
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40

Ah, the newsletter content is also published as an article.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 11:47 AM
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41

In the radio broadcasts that coordinated the genocide in Rwanda they used a fair amount of code language. Not sure if even FB moderators working with good intentions could reliably filter out a bunch of people making "Go to work!" go viral.

This still sounds like you're talking about algorithmic filtering instead of using actual moderators. Moderators should be able to identify which people are the instigators of genocide and ban them, not decide on a post by post basis. Especially on FB which combines its love for free speech with a love for not being anonymous.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 12:23 PM
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41: I'm talking about the limits of human moderators too. If all the instigators are talking in code, coordinating the meanings via back channels, changing codes frequently, that sort of thing, they could easily stay constantly one step ahead of moderators. (They might be indistinguishable long-term from impenetrable teenage subcultures.)


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 12:52 PM
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43

Isn't that kind of a victory? If all the people hear "Embroider the Mulberry tree" and don't know what it means, they can hardly do a good genocide.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 1:18 PM
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44

WILL THIS NIGHTMARE NEVER END


Posted by: OPINIONATED SILK WORMS | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 3:18 PM
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45

As I read it, the actual co-ordination of genocide isn't the issue so much as the spreading of the propaganda that makes genocide possible. Co-ordination can be done by backchannel regardless of FB policy, but good FB policy could hinder the propaganda function. For the latter, moderators will be able to figure out the new innuendo just as fast as the general audience does.


Posted by: OPINIONATED SILK WORMS | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 3:28 PM
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46

Facebook is the moral and practical equivalent of RTLM. Zuckerberg is complicit in crimes against humanity and should accordingly be treated as such by the appropriate international bodies.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 5:03 PM
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47

I'm not saying it's as bad as genocide, but using uncommon acronyms in conversation without explaining them is pretty bad.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 5:38 PM
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48

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_Télévision_Libre_des_Mille_Collines
Not *quite* as culpable.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 6:27 PM
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49

I looked it up. I just resent learning shit and didn't want to help anybody else.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 6:30 PM
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50

"Could Facebook be Tried for Human Rights Abuses?"


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 7:33 PM
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"Local mom asks, 'Could Facebook be Tried for Human Rights Abuses?'" would have been better.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 7:35 PM
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I don't think the author has kids.

It's a good article, I thought, when I read it back in December. It was a bit ahead of the curve in asking the question.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04-27-18 7:59 PM
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47 The acronym was easier than getting those damnable French accents right.

36 and 38 are correct. FB will be the end of us unless it's heavily regulated.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 04-28-18 3:07 AM
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I was just at the grocery store and the National Equirer is attacking Michael Cohen while defending Trump (as stupidly as possible by saying he passed a lie detector test). So Cohen is under the bus.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-28-18 2:34 PM
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When the book comes out about the Trump campaign and presidency, it will be titled: The Boys Under the Bus


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04-28-18 3:16 PM
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Trump/Pence 2020: We never hurt a white man except that he worked for us.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-28-18 3:26 PM
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Trump/Pence 2020: We never hurt a white man except that he worked for us. is Jewish.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-28-18 5:05 PM
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Pushing Cohen under the bus is basically suicide to keep from getting killed, no?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 04-28-18 9:18 PM
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Put everything on Cohen, let him take the heat while he waits for a pardon. I wouldn't take that risk, but then I wouldn't pay the my-wealth-equivalent of $130k of my own money to silence somebody else's ex.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-29-18 5:26 AM
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60

Or my own, for that matter.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-29-18 5:30 AM
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Everybody is somebody else's ex-.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-29-18 6:37 AM
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Except Incels.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-29-18 6:43 AM
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59: Cohen is worth about $50 million if I remember rightly. So the rough proportional equivalent would be a good friend of mine saying look, ajay, my porn star ex is causing some trouble, any chance you could chuck her £200 to stop her wrecking my political career, I'll make it worth your while, I'll owe you a big favour, and under those circumstances I think I might well do it. I wouldn't worry about being thrown under a bus because I don have friends who would do that sort of thing , but then I don't have friends who get blackmailed by porn star mistresses either so it's all a bit hypothetical.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-29-18 6:58 AM
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64

Maybe. But it's never just one porn-star mistress.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-29-18 7:07 AM
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65

I'll owe you a big favour

A bandmate/friend of mine owns a pizza shop, and, over time, at rehearsals and gigs, he's promised me several free pizzas in exchange for small favors I've done him (got him a beer, gave him a 9V battery I had in my stickbag, etc.). The thing is, the favors are always so de minimis, each individual favor doesn't really feel like it's worth an entire free pizza. So I'd feel guilty cashing in on the promise, even though the sum total of all the favors is certainly worth a pizza, maybe two.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-29-18 7:31 AM
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65: As your legally appointed counsel, I'm advising you to demand the pizza asap, before the statute of limitations expires.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-29-18 7:40 AM
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67

And now we all know ajay's approximate net worth.
Let's post our SAT scores as proportions of those of famous people!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-29-18 8:34 AM
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My SAT score is 1.8 DeNiros or .85 Paulie Shores.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 04-29-18 9:56 AM
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Real Paulie Shore or the troll one.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-29-18 10:20 AM
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My SAT score is 1.5 pizzas.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-29-18 10:44 AM
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The realest.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 04-29-18 10:44 AM
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If anyone ever tells you that progress isn't a thing or that humanity, on net, hasn't improved over the years, even with a retrograde monster like Donald Trump as President, just show them this video from 1991 where Pauly Shore goes to a Warrant concert.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=145&v=VIObhMfjArU


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-29-18 11:01 AM
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Friends pay $130,000 to cover up your affairs, real friends publicly claim to have caused pregnancies you caused.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-29-18 1:55 PM
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74

Honestly, I sold a pick-up truck just so I didn't have to find excuses not to help friends move a sofa.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-29-18 1:58 PM
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75

OT: squad goals now include drinking beer out of mouth of giant catfish and carrying giant catfish around for some reason

https://twitter.com/EditorEdge/status/990736402689200130


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-29-18 5:35 PM
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A catfish's mouth is probably cleaner than the Stanley Cup but people drink out of that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-29-18 5:59 PM
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Half of Canada and all of Buffalo, NY, have probably peed in that thing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-29-18 6:13 PM
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Half of Canada and all of Buffalo, NY

Buffalo, NY is basically Canada, for the things that really matter.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 04-29-18 7:00 PM
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OT: I feel like Jonah waiting for Nineveh to be destroyed, except instead of a plant that was killed by a worm leaving me to cook in the sun, they are redoing my office and took down the old blinds but have yet to replace them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-30-18 6:11 AM
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At least 652 million people worldwide speak languages supported by Facebook but where rules are not translated, according to data from language encyclopedia Ethnologue. Another 230 million or more speak one of the 31 languages that do not have official support.
[...]
Facebook-owned Instagram said its 1,179-word community guidelines are in 30 out of 51 languages offered to users. WhatsApp, owned by Facebook as well, has terms in nine of 58 supported languages, Reuters found.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 04-23-19 9:33 PM
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