Google, Facebook warn of moderation woes as coronavirus empties offices globally

Major Silicon Valley players, including Google, YouTube and Facebook, warned this week that a larger number of videos and posts could be erroneously removed for policy violations, thanks to coronavirus emptying offices across the country.

Big Tech will have to rely more on algorithms and automated tools over human moderators to flag content that violates its policies.

This type of software is not always as accurate as humans, which leads to errors, the company explained in a blog post. And “turnaround times for appeals against these decisions may be slower,” it said.

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Facebook followed suit, according to a Reuters report, saying it would work with contract vendors this week to send all content reviewers home indefinitely, with pay.

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The social network, led by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, also said the decision to rely more on automated tools, which learn to identify offensive material by analyzing digital clues for aspects common to previous takedowns, has limitations.

“We may see some longer response times and make more mistakes as a result,” Facebook said.