Facebook’s Crisis Management Algorithm Runs on Outrage

And these are the easy cases, where the lines between good and evil are clear and Facebook has developed a formula for responding. On her laptop, Bickert pulls up a slide presentation from a meeting of the company’s Community Standards group, which gathers every other Thursday morning to come up with new rules. As many as 80 employees participate in the discussions, either in person or virtually. The slides show that, on a Thursday last year, the team discussed what to do with #MeToo posts created by women who named their assailants. If the posts were untrue, they could be construed as harassment of innocent men. In the same meeting, the company evaluated viral stunts that younger users attempt, such as the “condom-snorting challenge,” which, with apologies, involves snorting a lubricated prophylactic up a nostril and pulling it out through the mouth. There are dozens of challenges such as this—the chile pepper challenge, the Tide Pod challenge, and so…

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