Saturday, 10 September 2016

Defending Facebook

I would be one of the last in line to defend a billion pound multinational tax dodger such as Facebook but it does seem the furore over the temporary banning of the iconic picture of a naked, screaming Vietnamese child running away from napalm bombs has got a bit silly.
Accusations abound of erasing such images is to limit freedom of expression, democracy, the right to criticise and question past events and even the good old rewriting history cliche has been thrown at them but if they are then i am missing something important here.
In order, the story went that an algorithm automatically deleted a picture of naked child and some people started screaming about it and after review by human Facebook editors, the picture is reinstated on the basis that it is not pornographic and is historically significant.
The only story i can see is that whatever algorithm Facebook are using to stop pictures of naked children being posted to it platform works very well.
Just happens that this particular picture, which is a naked child after all, has greater significance but a piece of software doesn't understand that and did what it was written to do and probably does hundreds of times a day without complaint.

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