Twitter and Facebook need to be more transparent about how they choose who gets censored
The enforcement of policies on content moderation by popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, is a continuously contentious topic. Particularly so following the booting out of Donald Trump by the aforementioned companies in early January, just before he exited the White House in disgrace. Facebook’s decision was criticised as being too little too late, while Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey defended his company’s decision but nevertheless said that it set a “dangerous precedent”.
But these actions hardly set any real precedent: the thing is, millions of people find their content or accounts removed from these platforms every day, often for far lesser offences than Trump’s incitement of supporters to riot at the Capitol building (which has also led to his impeachment trial this week) or his streams of Covid-19 misinformation. While there’s plenty to criticise about how these companies operate – they’re too opaque in their decision-making, have inadequate support for workers in content moderation, and offer next to zero customer service, among other things – the truth of the matter is that moderating the expression of billions of users is truly a hard problem, perhaps even an impossible one at scale.