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The Harrowing World of Social Media Website Censors

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posted on Nov, 22 2014 @ 09:33 PM
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This is a bit of an old post from WIRED magazine but a search didn't reveal it. I want to point out immediately that the SUBJECT MATTER IS DISTURBING AND FOR ADULTS ONLY. Mods delete if you feel the linked material is inappropriate. I'm posting this with trepidation.

It's about mostly overseas low paid workers who are hired to moderate social media in the United States, sparing us the worst of the worst on Facebook, Youtube, etc, and the difficulties dealing with the worst that humankind has to offer.


... is part of a massive labor force that handles “content moderation”—the removal of offensive material—for US social-networking sites. As social media connects more people more intimately than ever before, companies have been confronted with the Grandma Problem: Now that grandparents routinely use services like Facebook to connect with their kids and grandkids, they are potentially exposed to the Internet’s panoply of jerks, racists, creeps, criminals, and bullies. They won’t continue to log on if they find their family photos sandwiched between a gruesome Russian highway accident and a hardcore porn video. Social media’s growth into a multibillion-dollar industry, and its lasting mainstream appeal, has depended in large part on companies’ ability to police the borders of their user-generated content—to ensure that Grandma never has to see images like the one Baybayan just nuked.

“EVERYBODY HITS THE WALL. YOU JUST THINK, ‘HOLY #, WHAT AM I SPENDING MY DAY DOING?’”

So companies like Facebook and Twitter rely on an army of workers employed to soak up the worst of humanity in order to protect the rest of us. And there are legions of them—a vast, invisible pool of human labor. Hemanshu Nigam, the former chief security officer of MySpace who now runs online safety consultancy SSP Blue, estimates that the number of content moderators scrubbing the world’s social media sites, mobile apps, and cloud storage services runs to “well over 100,000”—that is, about twice the total head count of Google and nearly 14 times that of Facebook.


LINK, again you've been warned, please: WIRED magazine

I've sometimes wondered why I didn't see more ... porn, more violence, more everything on my FB page or just the video sites like YT, which I use for a great deal of my research and entertainment. Now I know why. These people are not only unsung heroes, but PTSD war veterans in the truest sense of the word.

I wonder if there's another fix for this, besides fixing what appears to be human nature at it's absolute worst?




posted on Nov, 22 2014 @ 10:07 PM
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a reply to: signalfire

I hate the censorship filters, I think Libertarian social networks would be better. We should not be catering to people just because they are offended. That is the same exact thing as catering to a toddler that is throwing a tantrum.

I would love to start my own Facebook. I would make it so that you can post whatever you want, because your page is your page. I would create a "flagging system" so users can "alert" my pretend staff of moderators to content they find offensive. Of course, the flagging system would be useless. I would have a clause in my User Agreement that states that--if you use the flagging system to get rid of content that you find offensive, you agree by clicking accept that you are legally mentally incompetent, and you hereby grant power of attorney over to (MY SOCIAL NETWORKING SITE).

I would probably use my power of attorney to stick them all in a psych ward so we can use electroshock therapy to cure them of feeling offended.
edit on 22-11-2014 by LewsTherinThelamon because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 22 2014 @ 10:13 PM
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a reply to: LewsTherinThelamon

The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.

Did you read the article? They are looking for material that shows people harming animals, beastiality, child abuse, etc. They aren't just censoring gore. They are censoring crimes of all types and things that I really don't want to see myself.

If you owned facebook, would you allow people to post child porn on their page? Is that acceptable? Those posting it obviously are not offended so does that mean the rest of us need to be exposed to it?

Sadly... Some folks need censored. I never thought I would say that, but if you read the article you will see that they aren't just censoring mundane things.

As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.



posted on Nov, 22 2014 @ 10:19 PM
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That article clearly demonstrates why censorship is sometimes needed. I hope the companies are serious about providing counseling for the workers who have to see that filth.



posted on Nov, 22 2014 @ 10:26 PM
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originally posted by: LewsTherinThelamon
We should not be catering to people just because they are offended. That is the same exact thing as catering to a toddler that is throwing a tantrum.


Nah, that would just make too much sense! Can't have that in our "modern" society. Hey, it's 2014 and whatever we don't like should instantly disappear! (But seriously, you hit the nail on the head Lews.)

*Edit*
a reply to: Kangaruex4Ewe

While I agree child porn shouldn't be cleared for posting, in fact I hope those sick bastards got party vanned and is having a man sandwich with Bubba and the warden. But everything else, why should it be censored? If we don't want to view it, why do we have friends that are posting such filth in the first place?

Boils down to choice. If I don't want to see sick crap, I won't have friends posting it. If they did, unfriend and voila, problem gone. (BTW: I don't use any social networks except email.)
edit on 22-11-2014 by Auricom because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 22 2014 @ 10:32 PM
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a reply to: Auricom

The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.

I don't have a problem with anything posted as long as it's legal. As far as child porn, beastiality, child abuse, elder abuse, etc... That should go.

As a matter of fact it should go straight to the local sheriff's office as soon as they spot it. Beheading videos and various other kinds of "stuff"? I don't partake in, but I have absolutely no problem if you do.

In my above post as I said that I couldn't believe I had just said yes to censorship and that was only based on the above points I stated. Other than that? If you don't like it... Don't click on it.

But don't use "You're stealing my freedom" to post child porn. Surely nobody sane can argue that point.

As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.



edit on 11/22/2014 by Kangaruex4Ewe because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 22 2014 @ 10:39 PM
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a reply to: Kangaruex4Ewe

I doubt very many people (at least sane) would argue about child porn. I agree that such disgusting filth should go straight to the inboxes over at the F.B.I.. But that's not what I'm addressing. Gore videos aren't illegal. Neither are videos showing abuse. If it was, I'm sure LiveLeak and the numerous other sites out there that caters to such filth would be closed a long time ago.

Bottom line: Don't like it, don't click it. I've heard stories of mothers breast feeding their children and have had pictures pulled of them doing so from places like Facebook. (No nipple slips, just a kid clamped on sucking milk.) I'll bet you five bucks, a string, and some assorted pocket lint that a lot of actual, honest posts are denied. I'll bet you the contents of my other pocket (sand, pocket lint, and a penny) that a few of these mods have removed posts they don't like personally.



posted on Nov, 22 2014 @ 10:52 PM
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a reply to: Kangaruex4Ewe


Did you read the article?


Yes.


They are looking for material that shows people harming animals, beastiality, child abuse, etc. They aren't just censoring gore. They are censoring crimes of all types and things that I really don't want to see myself.


If someone is doing something unlawful...put them on trial. We have a system of law for a reason.


If you owned facebook, would you allow people to post child porn on their page?


Yes. If someone is dumb enough to publicly display their child porn, they deserve the backlash that will invariably follow.

I mean, you may as well just walk yourself to the nearest Police station at that point.

One is born every minute, yes?


Is that acceptable? Those posting it obviously are not offended so does that mean the rest of us need to be exposed to it?


Facebook gives the average user the ability to dislike and unfollow a page that they don't like. If you see something that you don't like...stop following the page, you'll never see that page again.

The problem lies in the fact that people want power over others. Not only are they not content with "changing the channel" so to speak, they want to abolish the entire network (to continue the metaphor). That makes them authoritarians, and authoritarians are the enemies of all liberty loving citizens.

Let's use your logic.

The KKK is offended by black people. We should, therefore, lynch all black people. That way, the KKK will not have to be exposed to the thing that offends them.

Like it or not, reality is going to expose you to things that "offend" you. Mother nature does not care how sheltered you are.


Sadly... Some folks need censored. I never thought I would say that, but if you read the article you will see that they aren't just censoring mundane things.


All "public safety" arguments are nazis in disguise. I despise authoritarians.
edit on 22-11-2014 by LewsTherinThelamon because: (no reason given)

edit on 22-11-2014 by LewsTherinThelamon because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 22 2014 @ 11:02 PM
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a reply to: LewsTherinThelamon

The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.

Is it a waste of time for me to point out that I said illegal activities? I'm going to guess that it is, since apparently child porn is ok as long as one has the ability dislike or unfollow it. We should just let the market get that much bigger for it by actually "allowing" it to propagate without any interference. That's pretty sick IMO.

You state that the KKK are offended by black people, and should we lynch all black people because of that?

By that statement are you saying that you are NOT offended by child porn? That's kind of what it sounds like. I mean... If wanting CP censored automatically makes me ok with lynching black people, I suppose BY YOUR LOGIC it would work the other way around?? I will proudly state that I am offended by child porn and I think it and those who partake IN ANY FORM of it should be wiped off the face of this planet. Period. There is no wiggle room in there for me. Obviously it is for some folks.

Equating the KKK, lynching black people, and child porn is comparing apples to oranges. There's no way to even address that argument logically. Don't call that my logic. That totally came from you. If it's the logic you embrace, it is what it is. Me... My logic is that I prefer neither to ever occur again. By trying to stop one, it does not mean you condone another. That's silly. You can actually disagree with both.

I despise it when folks argue that it's all or nothing. Obviously that is a fallacy. We've been living it forever. Not condoning child porn to be freely available on facebook does not make one an authoritarian. Humanitarian may be the word you're looking for?

As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.


edit on 11/22/2014 by Kangaruex4Ewe because: (no reason given)

edit on 11/22/2014 by Kangaruex4Ewe because: (no reason given)


(post by LewsTherinThelamon removed for a serious terms and conditions violation)
(post by LewsTherinThelamon removed for a serious terms and conditions violation)

posted on Nov, 23 2014 @ 12:24 AM
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a reply to: LewsTherinThelamon

What happens when you get investigated and charged for knowingly hosting the filth?



posted on Nov, 23 2014 @ 12:33 AM
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What I find more disturbing than the content these people are censoring, is the fact these huge cash cow companies have created the digital sweat shop.

They're paying people 10% of what it would cost you in the U.S. to handle all the filth, it's disgusting and should be railed against! It's no different than abusing child labor in third world countries to manufacture $300.00 basketball shoes for $0.10 an hour. It's abusive advantage taking at its lowest form in business.

The "censorship" has to happen (or the end would be very near for these behemoth companies, I get that and to an extent we have to do the same thing here, but, it should be a bonus situation in salary for those dealing with it unless they are volunteers (like our illustrious staff) who are doing it out of a love for the site they know can't afford to pay them. These giant and cash rich companies could pay these people $100,000,00 a year and never feel it on their bottom line. They should not be exploiting third world employees for sweat shop wages.

Disgusting...
edit on 11-23-2014 by Springer because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 23 2014 @ 12:35 AM
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a reply to: Springer

I thought about that too, but someone has to do it. I am bothered that they pay Filipinos a pittance to do it. That's why I said earlier that I hope the companies really do (at least) provide counseling as the article claims. It saddens me that their best chance for a decent-paying job (by their standards) is to subject themselves to this day after day.

Just saw your edit. I perhaps didn't word my post as well as yours, but we are on the same page.
edit on 23-11-2014 by InvisibleOwl because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 23 2014 @ 03:30 AM
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originally posted by: Kangaruex4Ewe
a reply to: LewsTherinThelamon

The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.

Is it a waste of time for me to point out that I said illegal activities? I'm going to guess that it is, since apparently child porn is ok as long as one has the ability dislike or unfollow it. We should just let the market get that much bigger for it by actually "allowing" it to propagate without any interference. That's pretty sick IMO.


As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.



Illegal activities by what metric? The people moderating this content are in developing nations where they can be paid a slave wage. Content by their nations laws? These companies are multinationals, that means they're not beholden to the laws of any specific nation, which in turn moves them over to international status. Their users are also multinational, would it be right for a German posting in Germany to be restricted to the content laws of China, while using a German service? International law is a very vague and undefined thing, and very little is actually illegal.

If that means child porn gets posted, so be it. Take it upon yourself to report it to the authorities. Don't seek to remove it from being posted because the legality of the post is wholly dependent on who posted it, where, and the legal jurisdiction of your comment thread (for which there is none).



posted on Nov, 23 2014 @ 03:42 AM
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originally posted by: LewsTherinThelamon
I said that I wouldn't moderate content on my website and then everyone jumps down my throat "child porn you forgot hurr durr."


Perhaps I can comment on this. For a number of years I ran a forum, I still do but most people have moved on at this point as the community moved on to the things. I had a policy of non moderation. People were free to post anything they wanted, short of spambots nothing was deleted. The idea was that users could see the writings or posts of other users and decide on their own merits who was and was not credible. The ignore button would get used a lot, as would the karma type systems. The only limitation on this rule was that posts which weren't work safe had to go into a specific subforum. They could still post them, but they had to do it in such a way that people could safely browse the forums at work, if they posted outside of that subforum their post was moved there.

Anyways, I've had this forum for 11 years now (though the heyday was more like 5 years ago) and in all that time I only had one child porn incident. I did not delete the material, however after talking to the FBI I gave them the contact information I had on the poster and eventually the server where he had stored the images was taken down (policy was no image attachments in threads, all linked from elsewhere... a concession to the hosting company) and that solved the issue.

At other times I have seen the absolute worst of people due to those policies where people simply wanted to test things and see if they could post something so extreme that it would be removed. I remember one series of photos from a serial killer, where the guy would open up the victim and draw on their organs with markers, then take pictures. It was quite sick. On the one hand I fully understand Facebooks policy here as a large corporation. They need to appear that their content is upstanding and respectable. On the other hand, my feeling on the internet is that these things should not be censored, perhaps organized so that people need to opt in to view them, but ultimately that all communications are free and open.

The system all in all actually worked out quite well because people had to stand behind their content for better or worse. As it turns out, having an online reputation follow you makes people think twice about sharing something and I think that's perfectly fine, people should stand behind their words not censor them away if they become unpopular.
edit on 23-11-2014 by Aazadan because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 23 2014 @ 04:36 AM
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Well that's one perspective but mine is not quite the same !

Google is not only big brother but is in bed with the nanny state and will run a social media campaign for anyone in power that asks them too or maybe pays them. Their so called safe-browsing list blocks lots of site that should not be on the list and search results are doctored to weigh any none controlled sites to the back of the list on page ten.

Twitter is another member of the team and works like the MAFIA by protecting any company that pays them to advertise so if you tweet anything other than "How Cool" about their product or services then the tweets will never get read by the outside world. Yes they let the odd few words of criticism pass else it would make it too obvious but the majority of negative tweets against paying clients will never see the light of day.

YouTube is always using trumped up copyright laws to remove anything Google would not approve off because they are owned by Google and mix ip-addresses with Google ranges to make it almost impossible to block Google without blocking Youtube and they use the flash player to obtain a fingerprint from your machine that helps Google and the NSA with its spying.

All the big USA software companies work as a team to censor the internet and in the case of Google they even decide who gets to read what as they use a form of propaganda to twist peoples minds



posted on Nov, 23 2014 @ 04:44 AM
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a reply to: LewsTherinThelamon



I would love to start my own Facebook. I would make it so that you can post whatever you want, because your page is your page. I would create a "flagging system" so users can "alert" my pretend staff of moderators to content they find offensive

You could build a site that is ten times better than Facebook and no one would ever know about it because the monopoly would squeeze you out and shut you up unless financed by the CIA/NSA plus they will go to extreme lengths to get the service provider to drop you. I have seen some of the latter myself



posted on Nov, 23 2014 @ 05:14 AM
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Only IDIOTS are STILL using facebook....



posted on Nov, 23 2014 @ 06:11 AM
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What I don't understand, and this is from a second party, not on it myself, is facebook wont show a woman's bare body, but will
show beheading's in all the graphic detail.
Just does not make any sense to me.



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