21 January 2023

From the the Criminal Enterprise Formerly Known as Facebook™

Notwithstanding Facebook's assertions that it has improved its processes and algorithms, Facebook is still blithely approving advertisements inciting violence and terrorism.

It's the Zuckerberg 2-step, do wrong, apologize and promise to do no wrong, and then go back to doing wrong:

“Unearth all the rats that have seized power and shoot them,” read an ad approved by Facebook just days after a mob violently stormed government buildings in Brazil’s capital.

That violence was fueled by false election interference claims, mirroring attacks in the United States on January 6, 2021. Previously, Facebook-owner Meta said it was dedicated to blocking content designed to incite more post-election violence in Brazil. Yet today, the human rights organization Global Witness published results of a test that shows Meta is seemingly still accepting ads that do exactly that.

Global Witness submitted 16 ads to Facebook, with some calling on people to storm government buildings, others describing the election as stolen, and some even calling for the deaths of children whose parents voted for Brazil’s new president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Facebook approved all but two ads, which Global Witness digital threats campaigner Rosie Sharpe said proved that Facebook is not doing enough to enforce its ad policies restricting such violent content.

“In the aftermath of the violence in Brasilia, Facebook said that they were ‘actively monitoring’ the situation and removing content in violation of their policies,” Sharpe said in a press release. “This test shows how poorly they’re able to enforce what they say. There is absolutely no way the sort of violent content we tested should ever be approved for publication by a major social media firm like Facebook.”

To ensure that none of their test ads reached vulnerable audiences, Global Witness deleted the ads before alarming messages like “Death to the children of Lula voters” could be published.

Global Witness identified this as a problem that is particularly concerning on Facebook—not necessarily a weakness of all ad-based social platforms—by also testing the same ad set on YouTube. Unlike Facebook, YouTube did not approve any of the ads. YouTube also took the additional step of suspending the accounts that attempted to publish the ads.

“YouTube’s much stronger response demonstrates that the test we set is possible to pass,” Sharpe said.

I live for the day that Mark Zuckerberg is frog marched out of his offices in handcuffs.


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