Facebook in the field Many problems, scandals, scandals, and other miscellaneous diseases that were no surprise to anyone to hear that the fact-finding program, which was conducted last year after having encountered the network with its inaction in controlling disinformation, is collapsing. But in this case, the reason you have not heard much about it is not because of failure, but because fact-finding is boring and overwhelming – and it is carried out quietly and systematically by people who are well.
The narrative "Collapse" was presented in a The last article in the Guardian, Some of the problems mentioned in that piece are definitely genuine. But I was intrigued by the lack of documentation of the process of verifying the facts themselves, so I spoke with two people concerned to get a better idea of it.
I certainly did not have the impression of a program in crisis at all, but one of them was where the need to stay away with the liberalization process and the teams concerned created a state of apparent and obvious indifference when it came to making real changes.
No bells, no sirens
Facebook He likes to pretend that his research in artificial intelligence will solve only every problem he has. Unfortunately, not only does Amnesty International rely heavily on human intelligence to work in the first place, but the best it can do is to direct things to human agents to make final calls. There is no clearer place than in the fact-finding process. It is easy for automated learning agents to produce suspicious links or articles, but at this stage it is impossible for them to do any kind of real assessment of them.
This is where the company's network of independent auditors enters. No more than two former Snops employees left to work in Another checking fact – clearly Not Sharing with Facebook – obviously has major problems with how the program works. Most of the explosives were the allegation that Facebook had apparently tried to prioritize fact-finding processes involving an advertiser.
But it was not clear from their complaints just how the program worked. Chatted with Snobs President David Mickelson checked with him Politifact Editor Angie Drobnik Holan. They have categorically denied the claims of bottlenecks on Facebook, although they have their own reservations, and while they have not been able to provide precise details about the system they used, it seems very clear.
"For the most part it is literally just inputting the data," Mickelson explained. "When we check something, we enter its URL into a database, maybe you can wear it in all kinds of bells and whistles, but we do not need or expect much more, we have not changed what we do or how to do."
Michaelson described the Facebook system in general. It's a dashboard of links that, as Facebook has already shown, is mainly through automated learning systems that know what to look for: strange URLs, bot promotion, phishing addresses, etc. Appear on the dashboard in some aspects of the system, for example based on traffic or sharing.
"It inserts a thumbnail of what the item is, like an article or video; there is an estimated stock column, the date of the first publication, etc.," said Mikkelson. "They never gave us any guidance about, like" Please do this with most posts, "or" Do the latest entry and work your way down, "or whatever.
In fact, there is no need to use the control panel this way at all.
"There is no requirement that we do anything in their database," Mikkelson said. "If something is not there, frankly, most of what we do, we just add it."
Negative partner or master of brides?
I asked if there was any kind of backtracking or interference at all from Facebook, as Brooks described Benkowski in the Guardian story, which mentioned many of these occasions during its time in Snopes.
Holan of Politikvak said she believed the proposal was "very misleading." In the current situation"As with all our business, we decide what we should investigate and reach our conclusions without any contribution from Facebook or any third party, any claim that otherwise proposes false and baseless information," the organization said.
"I realize that Facebook's reputation is a little bit of a garbage game right now, but it's bad for all partners to verify the facts, including us." We could never have a business relationship with Facebook or any other partner who told us to use verification Which is in the service of advertisers.
The question of obtaining compensation for verifying facts was another matter of Benkowski's reflections. On the one hand, it can be seen as a conflict of interest for Facebook because it pays for the service, since it opens up all kinds of worms – but on the other hand, it is ironic to suggest that this important work can or should be done. Free. Although at first, it was.
When the fact-finding team was assembled for the first time in late 2016, Snopes was Wrote It expects "not to take any direct financial benefit from this arrangement."
"When we published this, the partnership was in its early stages, an experience we like to help," said Michelson. Money "did not appear at all." This was not the case until the following year when Facebook reported that it was paying the auditors, although it was not publicly announced, Gain and detection $ 100,000 coming from the company. Facebook has put good on high-level political stories already on Snoop's radar, as well as others in the fact-finding group.
The money came despite the fact that Snobs never asked for it or paid Facebook – a year-end check, he said, "noting that" the seller rejects the bill. "
Partners, but not colleagues
As for the mere concept of working in a company that has been subjected to slippery methods and unwanted leadership over the past few years, it is a legitimate concern. But Facebook is very important for a platform to ignore because of the moral lapses of senior officials who are not involved in the process of verifying the facts day after day. Millions of people are still looking to Facebook for their news.
To give up the company because (for example) Cheryl Sandberg hired a dirty PR firm to sling mud when critics would be in contradiction to the task that prompted these companies to check the facts to the platform to begin with. After all, not like Facebook had a good reputation in 2016, either.
Politifact and Snopes indicated that their dissatisfaction with the company was more focused on the lack of transparency within the fact-finding program itself. The basic tools and notes are none. Questions like the following have not been answered for years:
What constitutes falsity? What criteria should not be considered? How should irony be treated if it spreads as if it were a fact? What about state-sponsored propaganda and misinformation? Have some other auditors looked at a specific story, and was it possible or should their judgments inform the other party? What is the direct effect of distinguishing a false story – does it stop proliferating? Is there a rebound from society? Has the director been penalized in other ways? What about protesting the wrong decision?
The problem with the Facebook site validation process, as always in this company, is the lack of transparency with users and partners alike. The actual verification of facts happens outside of Facebook, and this is true; the company is unlikely to be affected or damaged, and if you try it, you may find it exploding in its face. But while the audit itself is resistant to manipulation, it is not at all clear whether there is any impact on it and how it will be improved or implemented in the future. Surely this is linked to everyone who has an interest in this process?
More than a year and a half or more of the program, little has been reported and little changed, this is not fast enough. But at the same time, thousands of articles have been reviewed by experts who are used to making their work largely unproductive – and although Facebook lacks transparency with them and with us, it seems unlikely that this work is also ineffective.
For years Facebook has nested mice of garbage content and misinformation regularly organized. In many ways, this is still the case, but the organized fact-finding campaign works like the constant friction that works against the momentum of this heap. It is not pleasant and the work will never be done, but it is just as important.
As with many other Facebook initiatives, we hear a lot of promises and we rarely get a lot of results. The creation of a group of third parties that independently contribute to the fact-finding database was a good step and it would be surprising to hear that it did not have a positive impact.
Users and partners deserve to know how it works, whether it works, and how it is changed. This information will disarm the critics and happy allies. But if Facebook continues to challenge these basic expectations, it justifies and only increases the claims of its worst enemies.