'The start of the machine learning going nuts': Facebook’s system wrongly blocked legitimate news articles about coronavirus pandemic

'The start of the machine learning going nuts': Facebook’s system wrongly blocked legitimate news articles about coronavirus pandemic

On Tuesday, March 17, Facebook was blocking users from posting legitimate news articles about the coronavirus pandemic Business Insider’s Rob Price reports.

Price reports that on Twitter, “multiple Facebook users” complained that they had been unable to post coronavirus-related articles from The Atlantic, BuzzFeed, Business Insider and others. Alex Stamos, a former security executive for Facebook, speculated that Facebook’s use of automated software in place of human content moderators during the coronavirus crisis might be to blame.

Facebook adopted a work-from-home policy for employees in response to coronavirus. But Stamos noted that under company policy, Facebook’s content moderators cannot work from home.

Stamos tweeted, “It looks like an anti-spam rule at FB is going haywire. Facebook sent home content moderators yesterday.” And those moderators, Stamos wrote, “generally can’t” work from home “due to privacy commitments the company has made.”

The former Facebook exec added that “we might be seeing the start of the” machine learning “going nuts with less human oversight.”

But Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of product management, attributed the problem to a software bug.

Rosen tweeted, “We’re on this. This is a bug in an anti-spam system, unrelated to any changes in our content moderator workforce. We’re in the process of fixing and bringing all these posts back.”

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