Documentary series reveals Facebook protects far-right activists, ignores under-age accounts

A documentary series, Channel 4 Dispatches has revealed that moderators at Facebook are protecting far-right activists by preventing their pages from getting deleted even after they violate the rules set up by the social media giant.

Called ‘shielded review’, the process was discovered by the documentary after they sent an undercover reporter to work as a content moderator in a Dublin-based Facebook contractor.

“In the documentary, a moderator tells the ‘Dispatches’ reporter that Britain First’s pages were left up, even though they repeatedly broke Facebook’s rules, because ‘they have a lot of followers so they’re generating a lot of revenue for Facebook’,” the Guardian reported.

A Britain’s First was banned in March 2018.

Pages of activists like Tommy Robinson are protected from Facebook rules. He is currently in jail, serving a 13 month sentence due to contempt of court. Facebook had said that it would eventually remove Robinson’s page if the site’s community standards were violated repeatedly.

Facebook’s Head of Public Policy, Richard Allan, is quoted to have said in the documentary that the company’s rules are based on revenue.

“If the content is indeed violating it will go,” Allan stated.

“It’s clear that some of what is shown in the programme does not reflect Facebook’s policies or values, and falls short of the high standards we expect. We take these mistakes in some of our training processes and enforcement incredibly seriously and are grateful to the journalists who brought them to our attention,” said Allan.

The documentary also showcases that the Facebook has decided to ignore under-age accounts.

“Moderators are told they can only take action to close down the account of a child who clearly looks 10-years-old if the child actually admits in posts they are under-aged,” reported The Telegraph.

“We have to have an admission that the person is under-age. If not, we just pretend that we are blind and we don’t know what underage looks like,” a trainee told the under-cover reporter.

Facebook has also faced a lot of flak for launching Messenger Kids which encourages children under age 13 to join social media.

Earlier in December, British Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned Facebook to stay away from his children. More than 100 child experts have urged Facebook to withdraw the app.

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