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NYT: Lynchings Around the World are Linked To Facebook Posts (bostonglobe.com) 171

An anonymous reader quotes the New York Times: Riots and lynchings around the world have been linked to misinformation and hate speech on Facebook, which pushes whatever content keeps users on the site longest -- a potentially damaging practice in countries with weak institutions and histories of social instability. Time and again, communal hatreds overrun the newsfeed unchecked as local media are displaced by Facebook and governments find themselves with little leverage over the company. Some users, energized by hate speech and misinformation, plot real-world attacks.

A reconstruction of Sri Lanka's descent into violence, based on interviews with officials, victims and ordinary users caught up in online anger, found that Facebook's newsfeed played a central role in nearly every step from rumor to killing. Facebook officials, they say, ignored repeated warnings of the potential for violence, resisting pressure to hire moderators or establish emergency points of contact... Sri Lankans say they see little evidence of change. And in other countries, as Facebook expands, analysts and activists worry they, too, may see violence.

A Facebook spokeswoman countered that "we remove such content as soon as we're made aware of it," and said they're now trying to expand those teams and investing in "technology and local language expertise to help us swiftly remove hate content." But one anti-hate group told the Times that Facebook's reporting tools are too slow and ineffective.

"Though they and government officials had repeatedly asked Facebook to establish direct lines, the company had insisted this tool would be sufficient, they said. But nearly every report got the same response: the content did not violate Facebook's standards."
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NYT: Lynchings Around the World are Linked To Facebook Posts

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  • Good for Facebook (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 21, 2018 @11:47PM (#56481477)

    Good for Facebook. Why doesn't Slashdot remove similar hate speech? Why do the editors allow the comments to be filled with anti-Semitic spam? It's truly embarrassing that Facebook, with orders of magnitude more posts, can police hate speech, but Slashdot refuses to do so. Perhaps it's time to let Slashdot's advertisers know about all the hate speech appearing with their ads. Slashdot's management should be ashamed of all the hate speech that they allow and seem to condone by not deleting it. And make no mistake, Slashdot occasionally deletes posts, yet there's so much hate speech. Truly embarrassing for Slashdot...

    • Good for Facebook. Why doesn't Slashdot remove similar hate speech? Why do the editors allow the comments to be filled with anti-Semitic spam?

      I think there's a difference between reading a post - even if it is from an Anonymous Coward - and taking in enough of the post's meaning to be able to respond to it - like i'm doing - and seeing spam with ascii swastikas or two thousand lines of inane GNAA gibberish and having your eyes and attention slide over it as if it wasn't there. I don't take any of that garbage seriously; in fact, my brain is learning to ignore any slashdot post that has the word "trump" or "hillary" in the first sentence.

    • As soon as Slashdot userbase becomes 1/100 the size of Facebook's, people start to care, and Slashdot will have to change. So don't you worry...

    • " Good for Facebook. Why doesn't Slashdot remove similar hate speech? "

      Facebook is under the microscope at the moment, so they're doing everything they can to placate the masses.
      ( Though I don't think it will save the platform )

      I would say because Slashdot users do a pretty good job of burying most of the racist stupidity via mod points.
      Unless you're viewing with your filter set to " Gimme the bottom of the pond " comments, they are relatively unseen.

      View at +2 and above and you'll rarely see them.

  • by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Saturday April 21, 2018 @11:49PM (#56481485) Homepage
    I mean, six months ago there weren't these constant drumbeats of anti-facebook stories. Now they're everywhere. Is this tied to the idea that Zuckerberg wants to run for President? [theatlantic.com] The well is being poisoned so he won't pose a threat? After all, he's an outsider with no political experience. Trump was a total outsider, Sanders was a Democrat outsider, and look at all the dirty tricks that were played against them. Personally, I think insiders are the problem as they run our system for the benefit of themselves, not us. Plus, it would be very interesting to have Zuckerberg as America's first Jewish president.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Zuckerberg isn't remotely a threat to anyone in the political arena. If he even dreamed of starting a campaign, it'd end with a single ad:

      "They 'trust' me. Dumb fucks."

      Facebook's simply being thrown under the bus for playing fast and loose with data - that is, selling it (albeit indirectly) to the Trump campaign instead of keeping it solely in the hands of the DNC.

    • by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Sunday April 22, 2018 @12:22AM (#56481617)

      I mean, six months ago there weren't these constant drumbeats of anti-facebook stories. Now they're everywhere. Is this tied to the idea that Zuckerberg wants to run for President? [theatlantic.com] The well is being poisoned so he won't pose a threat?

      There's no conspiracy, it's just how the media works.

      2 years ago everybody knew that organizations were mining FB data to push agendas and the News Feeds were rife with misinformation, but it just looked like some weird geek issue and nothing had happened to demonstrate why that might be a problem.

      But now we've seen a major electoral upset, and both data mining and misinformation played a role, so people now understand how these abstract FB problems can have real world effects.

      So now the news orgs want to send reporters to look into FB and ordinary people want to read about it, and that's why all these stories are coming out.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        That's simply not true. The Trump campaign didn't use Cambridge Analytica data, they used RNC data, which was more accurate. Facebook VP: "The Majority Of Russian Ad Spend Happened AFTER The Election" [fb.com]

        "many of these ads did not violate our content policies. That means that for most of them, if they had been run by authentic individuals, anywhere, they could have remained on the platform."

        Shouldn't you stop foreigners from meddling in US social issues?

        The right to speak out on global issues that cross b

        • by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Sunday April 22, 2018 @01:46AM (#56481857)

          That's simply not true. The Trump campaign didn't use Cambridge Analytica data, they used RNC data, which was more accurate.

          Cambridge Analytica did digital advertising on behalf of Trump and a pro-Trump PAC, and they would have used Cambridge Analytica data to do that.

          So, after a year of investigations and debunked conspiracy / false claim after debunked conspiracy / false claim, the strongest argument for alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US federal election is $100K of non-political or partisan Facebook ads - more than half of which ran after the election, and a quarter of which never ran at all. That's telling.

          Huh? Cambridge Analytica is a really scuzzy company and a possible link between Russia and the Trump campaign. They're hardly "the strongest argument for alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US federal election".

      • And also people are becoming violent and lynching people based on customized facebook data feeds.

        Facebook has broken up several of my friends. Very ugly.

        It makes a much higher bar for friendship because differences are magnified as your privacy is destroyed.

        I haven't used Facebook since abou 2007/2008. It was obvious they were very scummy even then.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Even back when Obama was first elected people knew that his campaign had a very advanced social media strategy and did a lot of work with data. The difference now is that companies like Cambridge Analytica are not playing by the rules. They are breaking Facebook's terms, and more importantly they are breaking the law in multiple countries.

        It's fine to mine social data with consent. People actually want that, they want to be part of a campaign and install the app to help themselves campaign on their candidat

        • by UnConeD ( 576155 )

          The Obama campaign violated Facebook's own policy and FB looked the other way. So both parties likely violated laws then too.

          https://ijr.com/2018/03/107708... [ijr.com]

          Regardless, 99% of the people whose information was harvested did not consent in both cases, because it was their friends who logged in. Whether or not that initial permission grant was fully above the board or used a quiz app doesn't really matter. Your friends and acquaintances don't have legal power over your own personal information.

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            Read that article very carefully. It doesn't say that broke any Facebook rules or laws.

            It says that the app used people's contact lists, with their permission, to suggest people to send messages to encouraging them to vote.

        • Remember when Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook conspired with the DNC to win the 2016 election? Wikileaks remembers.

          https://i.redd.it/0iuspeqozzm01.jpg [i.redd.it]

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            I do remember, but it's not a criminal conspiracy. Facebook is allowed to help anyone they like, as long as it is all done with consent and doesn't break any election laws.

            Can you cite the specific rule or law she broke and why she has evaded prosecution for it? Seems rather odd that she is untouchable, yet the President of the United States can't even shake this off.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      I mean, six months ago there weren't these constant drumbeats of anti-facebook stories. Now they're everywhere.

      Journalism is subject to fads. Facebook is just the fad-du-jour, so everyone is piling on. In a few weeks or months, they will move onto something else.

      The current drumbeat for censoring Facebook will hopefully pass without effect. Other media induced moral panics have been much more harmful. The media fanning of the Satanic Ritual Abuse Scandal [wikipedia.org] destroyed lives and drove innocent people to suicide.

      But most media fads are harmless. For instance the "homelessness" fad in the 1980s had sad stories about

      • Journalism is subject to fads.

        Man! You're not kidding [pulitzer.org]!

      • "School shootings" are another current fad, even though they are nothing new, and are actually less common today than they were 25 years ago. So far the media attention has had zero effect on policy.

        Less common? How do you measure that? Number of shootings or number of victims?

        Because going by number of shootings, according to wikipedia [wikipedia.org], there have been roughly the SAME number of school shootings in the 3 and a bit years since 2015 (62) as there were in the ENTIRE decade of the 1990s (63).

        So. Why do you think they're 'actually less common today' than the early to mid 90s?

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Khyber ( 864651 )

          "according to wikishit"

          Ahem, direct at the top of your fucking article: This list is incomplete;

          Useless source to be quoting numbers from.

        • Less common? How do you measure that? Number of shootings or number of victims?

          Either. School shootings are not more common [npr.org]

          Because going by number of shootings, according to wikipedia [wikipedia.org] ...

          That is not a complete list, nor does it claim to be. In earlier decades, school shootings were just local news, and many were never listed in state or national databases.

          • I've read that story & I'm not buying it. Consider this quote from the article:

            First, while multiple-victim shootings in general are on the rise, that's not the case in schools. There's an average of about one a year — in a country with more than 100,000 schools.

            "There were more back in the '90s than in recent years," says Fox. "For example, in one school year — 1997-98 — there were four multiple-victim shootings in schools."

            So, one a year is the average & four (in the 1997-98 school year) is exceptional, but in this school year (17-18), we've also also had four multiple-victim shootings in schools - and the year ain't over.

            It doesn't sound like a decline in school shootings to me frankly.

            Whatever the case, I'm glad I don't live in that fucked up country.

      • What you call a "fad" used to be a social movement. Don't you think it's a little sad that things are a media frenzy for a while and then nothing really gets done?

        The hubbub over economic fairness called "Occupy Wallstreet" -- well, that's yesterday's news.

        Maybe this global warming fad and environmentalism will just go away and we can go back to business killing the ocean.

        I think the fundamental problem is that people have a capacity for outrage, and that with numerous things to be outraged about, we fret o

        • The hubbub over economic fairness called "Occupy Wallstreet" -- well, that's yesterday's news.

          There was another hubbub over economic fairness called "The Tea Party".

          Both got plenty of media attention.

          OWS faded away, having accomplished absolutely nothing, without the endorsement of a single national politician.

          The Tea Party, or people happy to affiliate with them, currently control the Presidency, both houses of Congress, the Supreme Court (with more nominations likely), and many state Governorships and legislatures. They are running the country.

          • The Tea Party, or people happy to affiliate with them, currently control the Presidency, both houses of Congress, the Supreme Court (with more nominations likely), and many state Governorships and legislatures. They are running the country.

            You speak as if you'd love for the Occupy Wall Street folks to have taken over the government.
            Even though we all know that there's only one major party which has no scruples or morals and is willing to take any fringe loon into their ranks just to stay in power.
            We're not gonna name them but it's The Party Formerly Known As The Republican Party.
            You know... before they took side with fucking Nazis! Now they should probably be called Nazi Party Lite.
            Or Diet Nazis. The New Nazi Taste?

            All of which has led to so

        • What you call a "fad" used to be a social movement. Don't you think it's a little sad that things are a media frenzy for a while and then nothing really gets done?

          Internet time

      • I wouldn't go that far. On the NATIONAL level policy hasn't changed, but the shootings have been the impetus for a large number of state-level changes.
    • by Z80a ( 971949 )

      Given how well this kind of strategy works, Zuck will just walk into the white house.

    • Because everybody in media was perfectly fine with Facebook's extensive data mining operation, and with politicians' exploitation of it for electoral manipulation, as long as it was used for their chosen candidates. It became a problem when Trump used it even more extensively and more successfully.

    • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Sunday April 22, 2018 @02:11AM (#56481927) Journal

      I mean, six months ago there weren't these constant drumbeats of anti-facebook stories.

      There were anti-Facebook "drumbeats" as early as 2007, when they first announced the Beacon project (Facebook scripts on non-FB websites). There were plenty of warnings, for those with ears to year and eyes to see.

      The reason you only started noticing them six months ago is because you see attacks on Facebook as attacks on Donald Trump's legitimacy. Which they are.

      Trump was a total outsider,

      Nobody with money is an outsider when it comes to US politics. Donald Trump is the ultimate insider. He's been shmoozing politicians and the powerful for decades. They way he's opened the executive branch to every two-bit huckster and leech (DeVos, Pruitt, Mnuchin, Pompeo, etc etc) is the Swamp personified. Remember the chief scientist for the Department of Agriculture that had no background in science? Remember Kris Kobach? He made Mike Goddamn Flynn the national security advisor and it turned out he was an agent of at least one foreign government.

      For chrissake, where did you get the idea that he's some kind of outsider, or that someone with absolutely no experience governing and little experience running successful businesses could possibly do well as president?

      • President Trump really isn't establishment. He is an outsider to both national and Washington politics. He doesn't represent the interests of the traditional political establishment and when his two terms are up will go back to civilian life, likely never venturing into politics again. He isn't a life long, career politician or bureaucrat.

        http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/10/14/the-ruling-classs-hatred-of-trump-is-different-than-yours/ [counterpunch.org]

        More than fifty Republican "national security" "elites" ha-ve joined s

        • by Anonymous Coward

          President Trump really isn't establishment.

          He really is, having a vested interest in his own apple cart, and complete ignorance of the common person.

          He's already set about profiting from exploiting his official position. It was rather revealing when he explicitly claimed to be above the law.

          He is an outsider to both national and Washington politics.

          That explains why he attended so many of their parties. Not exactly a desired guest, but well, they are sellouts.

          He doesn't represent the interests of the traditional political establishment and when his two terms are up will go back to civilian life, likely never venturing into politics again.

          LOL. If he survives his first term without being institutionalized, he'll likely spend the rest of his life being a noisy graceless jackdaw.

          He isn't a life long, career politician or bureaucrat.

          He ha

    • Plus, it would be very interesting to have Zuckerberg as America's first Jewish president.

      Oh no, do we really have to continue with this, "Who is most annoying in America?" and making them president? I can think of any number of Jews who would make a better president.

    • Don't know who is coordinating it, but it came right after the Uber "flood of bad news." I can imagine who did that one though, board members who were trying to get rid of the CEO.
  • Remember when we all thought that the internet was the great democratizer bringing free speech to the world and was going to rout out corruption whenever it lid?
    • Remember when we all thought that the internet was the great democratizer bringing free speech to the world and was going to rout out corruption whenever it lid?

      There is some truth to that. As bad as it is, the world is less corrupt and more transparent than it was 20 years ago.

      Part of the problem is that an increase in freedom can have detrimental effects in the short run. If a Pakistani murders his neighbor because he read on Facebook that he was an apostate, it is because he doesn't understand that greater exposure to the truth also means greater exposure to lies. In time, Pakistanis will become just as jaded as people in the West, and ignore (most of) the no

    • Re:Speech be free (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rossz ( 67331 ) <ogre@noSpAm.geekbiker.net> on Sunday April 22, 2018 @12:46AM (#56481709) Homepage Journal

      It turns out there are large portions of the world that are incapable of handling free speech. Sadly, that includes many of our own universities.

    • It was. Then, powerful corporations created centralized services and everyone flocked to them, trading freedom for security. When you had personal home pages and search engines, everyone was equal. When you have Google's SJWs penalizing conservative sites back to page 153 of search results and promoting far left sites to page 1, it's a different story.

      The problem with youtube, google, facebook, twitter, reddit... we took this open platform of the internet where anyone could do anything and we gave cont

  • Islamic nations overwhelmingly more likely to carry out lynchings: "you can't blame that on Islam, most Muslims are peaceful!"

    A handful of Facebook posts are linked to some lynchings: "uhrmaghurd, Facebook is teh worst, someone needs to do something!"

    When do we get to the "most Facebook users are peaceful" excuse?

    • by tsa ( 15680 )

      The fact that there is more violence in Islamic nations is no proof that most people are violent there. Fact is that the great mayority of people just want to live their lives in peace and quiet. That is the same everywhere.

    • Well, the biggest cases are lynching by buddist monks OF muslims. So it doesn't seem to hold up.

    • by bongey ( 974911 )
      Muslim 'peace' conference everyone in the room of moderate muslims saying we should kill gays and jews , https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com] .
  • It was reported last year and recently that national Buddhists use Facebook as a channel to post things that help to incite violence towards minority Muslims called the Rohingya in Burma. A monk called Wirathu was banned, by the government, from public preaching, and that included Facebook.

    More information:
    A War of Words Puts Facebook at the Center of Myanmar’s Rohingya Crisis [nytimes.com]
    Rohingya crisis: How we got here [cnn.com]
    U.N. Fact Finders Say Facebook Played a 'Determining' Role in Violence Against the Rohi [time.com]

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      I love how that's as far as you go back, and don't bother to question why a Buddhist monk - a Buddhist! - would go so far as to call for violence. Just came out of nowhere, right?

      As a backgrounder, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army staged a series of concerted attacks on the Burmese army. Unwilling to tolerate another Moslem jihad, the Rohinyas have been expelled to Bangla, where live some of those funding and leading ARSA. Saudi Arabia is too far away to dump them.

      The number of corpses hasn't been that

      • by scsirob ( 246572 )

        Where are my mod points when I need them! Muslims going jihad, and when they fail and get driven back, they go booohoooo...
        "It all started when they hit back"..
        The common theme with almost all hostility in this world is islam. I could only wish that Western governments responded to islamic expansion the way the Burmese have.

      • - a Buddhist! -

        I see. So when someone calls for violence for what they see as the invasion of their home and the dilution of their culture, we should weep that they have been driven to such an extreme when they are members of a largely peaceful religion?

        But only for approved religions?

        I thought the main argument against Islam was that it gave rise to a minority of extremists who called for violent opposition to their enemies. How is this different?

        Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army staged a series of concerted attacks on the Burmese army

        Which they claim was in self defence. And so it goes.

        Unwilling to tolerate another Moslem jihad

        Which was the jihad th

  • In Sri Lanka there were anti-muslim riots. Why? The mainstream media can't suppress the truth about muslims anymore and when people see how they reaally act they sometimes become so angry riots arise. Good, that should happen in the west too. It's about time we fought back against the muslim threat and the Soros agenda of killing all cultures with more muslim immigrants.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      I've never met a person who is genuinely guided by his religious or philosophical principles. The main function of those things is to give you rationalizations for the things you do. The more convinced that someone is that he's a good whatever he calls himself, the more self-deluded he is.

      The idea of Muslims who are robotically diabolical or Christians that are robotically saintly is ludicrous. It's like thinking being a Selena Gomez fan makes you profoundly different from an Ariana Grande fan.

  • I guess FB annoyed the wrong person - now, there are daily attacks on FB when for years they've been using the same dubious 'business' practices without issue.

  • by Jim Sadler ( 3430529 ) on Sunday April 22, 2018 @08:46AM (#56483015)
    Yes ! If we allow freedom of speech the people will all lynch each other! Therefore we have another wonderful reason to stifle free speech. It is rather like the gun controversy. Obviously if we allow people access to guns some people with shoot each other. And yes, when we allow razor blades some women kill themselves in the bath tub by cutting their wrists. Thus the nanny state is our new imperative. Obviously for every freedom there is some really negative result that attaches. Surely we must erase freedom completely.
  • by knorthern knight ( 513660 ) on Sunday April 22, 2018 @10:10AM (#56483293)

    World War I - Germany engages in a multi-front war against British Empire, France, Russian Empire (pre-USSR), and USA. Predicatbly, they lose. Rather than accepting the fact that Germany lost because they were outnumbered, Hitlere convinced Germans that they were "stabbed in the back by the Jews", when victory was within reach. The repercussions of that delusion were ugly.

    Election USA 2016 - Democrats put up unpopular candidate, who won primaries only because of an initial surge of support from "super-delgates" that gave her momentum going into the primaries. She's married to a former president who pushed through NAFTA (Bush negotiated it, but couldn't push it through), and was fully supporting TPP, until Sanders and Trump came out against it. She was the one who called blacks "super predators", stood up in a coal-mining state and said that she was going to shut down more coal mines, never bothered to show up and campaign in some of her crucial "Blue Wall States", illegally ran a private email server, deleted several thousand emails with "bit-bleach" when subpeona'd, lied about "coming under fire" at Benghazi, etc, etc, etc. Rather than admitting that they shot themselves in the foot by running the most awful candidate they could, the only one who could conceivably lose to Donald Trump... they claim that they were "stabbed in the back by Facebook".

    What will the ugly repercussions of this delusion be?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You know what, I actually agree with the second to last sentence of your second paragraph. The democrats stitched up their primaries to make sure Hillary would be the candidate. Someone who'd been at the forefront of national politics for 20 years and that the American public never took a liking to. Brilliant idea. As for the republicans, they just offered the usual brew of bland candidates talking about "values", and only about "values", because talking about anything else, like how they're going to square

    • by Anonymous Coward

      "deleted several thousand emails with "bit-bleach" when subpeona'd"

      Wow, anyone remember when this was a nerd site? Now look what we have crawling around.

  • Facebook is the new "the devil made me do it" excuse for bad behavior.

  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Sunday April 22, 2018 @01:08PM (#56484199)

    Facebook, as much as I despise them, does not cause this. The people that do these things are broken and do not qualify as modern human beings, Facebook is just a communications channel here. These people would lynch others even with no electronic communications at all, as they are basically glorified cavemen.

    • It's a communication channel designed to work out what you want to hear and to show you more of that. Seasoned with outrage, because outrage is addictive.

      Facebook isn't the cause, nor will any action on Facebook's part 'cure' this, but they'd make things a little less likely if they didn't feed people's biases for the eye-time. If they don't want to be responsible for monitoring and moderating content, then they needed to have made a much better case for being a common carrier. They've gone the other way an

  • Muslims and until hezbollah and Hamas are banned from twitter stop posting these bullshit stories about muslims being attacked. https://twitter.com/thepartyof... [twitter.com] https://twitter.com/HamasInfoE... [twitter.com]
  • It's business is based on creating an environment creates and empowers divisiveness. Of course, things can be done, but every solution would reduce profits so each true solution is effectively impossible.
  • I hear that some lynchings are linked to phone calls and snail-mail too. Ban those systems!

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