Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Climate activists are furious that Facebook’s new misinformation algorithm backfired and banned all their friends.
Facebook suspends environmental groups despite vow to fight misinformation
Facebook blames mistake in system for restrictions on groups including Greenpeace USA
Facebook has suspended the accounts of several environmental organizations less than a week after launching an initiative it said would counter a tide of misinformation over climate science on the platform.
Groups such as Greenpeace USA, Climate Hawks Vote and Rainforest Action Network were among those blocked from posting or sending messages on Facebook over the weekend. Activists say hundreds of other individual accounts linked to indigenous, climate and social justice groups were also suspended for an alleged “intellectual property rights violation”.
The suspended people and groups were all involved in a Facebook event from May last year that targeted KKR & Co, a US investment firm that is backing the Coastal GasLink pipeline, a 670km-long gas development being built in northern British Columbia, Canada.
Many of the accounts have now been restored, but a handful are still blocked, with no fuller explanation coming from Facebook.
The suspensions came just a few days after the social media giant said it was launching a “climate science information center” to counter widely shared but misleading posts that reject the established science of the climate crisis.
…Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/sep/22/facebook-climate-change-environment-groups-suspended
Clearly Facebook needs to add special exceptions to their climate misinformation algorithm, to prevent their system from accidentally blocking climate activists.
Google may have encountered a similar problem in 2017, when they apparently discovered applying an objective truth algorithm to climate studies frequently produced answers which did not align with the prejudices of google management.
Update (EW): Added a link to the 2017 post which described Google’s mishap with objective truth.