Following a spate of violent incidents broadcasted live on Facebook, the company is expanding its community operations team to address the issue.
Facebook Live is a great feature – in theory. It’s great because it can have so many creative applications, but this in itself opens up opportunity for problematic characters to abuse it. And given the recent trend of all kinds of violence perpetrated on Facebook Live recently, it has become clear that Facebook is facing a growing problem. And the only way to deal with that problem? Grow its global community operations team by another 3,000 people, adding to the 3,500 already there.
The expansion was announced by CEO Mark Zuckerberg in recent Facebook post, saying that it’s “heartbreaking” that “we’ve been seen people hurting themselves and others on Facebook” lately. Whether live, or in videos posted later, we’ve seen an extreme rise in violence on Facebook. This includes, murder, suicide, and a whole range of crimes – and it seems that Facebook can’t really do much to stop it. Except perhaps developing tools to make it easier for users to report objectionable content?
Well, that doesn’t seem to be working. I report extremely violent, racist, and misogynistic content on a daily basis, and 9/10 times I get the canned response saying that
We looked over the [content] you reported, and though it doesn’t go against one of our specific Community Standards, we understand that […] it may still be offensive to you.
For Facebook, it seems more important to have the ability to respond quickly and contact law enforcement in time. But still, I can’t see how Facebook can do that. Until someone reports something, it doesn’t seem possible to limit damage. For example, I witnessed the broadcast of a sexually explicit video the other day – live. I reported it, and I would think many others did the same. But there were already hundreds of users watching and interacting. I fear that Facebook has pretty much lost control of its content.